Earlier today at Web Summit 2020, the European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group) unveiled a brand new financing instrument to support artificial intelligence companies across Europe.
The co-investment facility of (up to) €150 million will allow the EIB Group to invest in promising early-stage and growth-stage AI tech companies alongside funds backed by the European Investment Fund.
It is also open to back companies developing technologies that directly complement AI, the EIB Group says, such as blockchain, the ‘Internet of Things’ and robotics.
In a press release accompanying the announcement, the EIB Group says Europe’s artificial intelligence sector “has a multibillion-euro funding gap compared with the United States and China” – but is a bit vague on how the €150 million instrument is supposed to close that (expanding) gap.
Said EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska, responsible for innovation and digitalisation: “The potential of AI is enormous. Today we can already see the initial impact of AI in many areas of our day-to-day lives, but it will be the defining factor for the way we work, study and live in the future. If Europe wants to stay competitive and shape the conditions of AI development and use, while ensuring European values are respected, it needs to embrace AI and lead its development.”
The new funds will be available in EU member states (and in ‘Horizon 2020 associated’ countries) and are expected to be deployed during the next four years.
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