Australian startups using artificial intelligence to optimise supply chains, improve access to patient care, and monitor employee mental health are among the first cohort of local AI scale up program Boab AI.

Boab AI announced the inaugural group today as well as the commencement of its $100m Boab Global AI Fund to invest in another 150 AI companies around the world.

As part of the first Australian program, $1.5 million is being invested in five local AI startups, which are PI.EXCHANGE, Remi AI, Strongroom AI, Plaetos and Daitum.

Each company is eligible for a further $5 million in follow upon funding in future investment rounds.

Boab begins

Boab AI launched in Melbourne last year hoping to address a lack of local investment in AI at a time when it is rising around the world. The initiative is led by Andrew Lai, who has run similar accelerators for Australian agtechs, and directors include Dr Catriona Wallace, Founder and CEO of Ethical AI Advisory, and Rosyln Hames COO of Clear Dynamic.

Boab AI launched with a $1.5 million grant from the Victorian government and $8 million in investment funding from investment management firm Artesian.

Today, Lai said he was exceptionally pleased with the calibre of the first Boab AI cohort.

“With Boab AI being the first AI scale-up program in Australia providing funding, advice and services bespoke to each company, we expect these companies to scale quickly and expand internationally.”

The first cohort

Boab AI is currently focused on companies predominantly based in Victoria. But the $100m fund announced today will be used to back other AI companies around Australia and the world.

Victoria’s Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy, Jaala Pulford, says the local investment will help Victoria become a world leading innovation ecosystem.

“Australia is forecast to need 161,000 more artificial intelligence experts by 2030 and with initiatives like Boab AI and the Boab Global AI Fund attracting the world’s best talent, there’s no better place for these jobs than Victoria,” Pulford said in a statement.

The five companies in the initial Boab AI cohort are:

  • PI.EXCHANGE provides an AI Machine Learning platform for enterprises, reducing the barriers for AI usage and providing advanced data analytics to help organisations make better decisions.
  • Remi AI provides a Machine Learning platform for demand forecasting, supply chain AI and price optimisation.
  • Strongroom AI provides an AI based secure digital gateway to quickly and safely access specialised treatment plans for patients.
  • Plaetos is a safe, moderated AI driven virtual forum for employees to contribute their knowledge, feelings and ideas.
  • Daitum provides a powerful platform that automates decision-making prescriptive analytics to solve decision-based problems.

Applications for the second intake of scale up AI companies will commence in March 2021.

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