Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui", Head Office: Tokyo, President and CEO: Tatsuo Yasunaga) has invested in AI Fund, L.P. ("AI Fund"), which was established by Andrew Ng, who has founded and led artificial intelligence (AI) projects centering on deep learning at Google and Baidu. The fund specializes in the AI field.
Andrew Ng is an international authority on AI. He headed AI projects at both Google and Baidu and guided each company to world leadership in AI under his "AI first" strategies at both companies. In 2009 the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence Organization (IJCAI) awarded Andrew Ng the Computers and Thought Award, which is regarded as the "Nobel Prize of AI".
The AI Fund intends to sequentially initiate new businesses that use AI to improve human life, and to turn these ventures into operating companies. In December 2017, Andrew announced the establishment of Landing.AI, an AI operating company focusing on the manufacturing industry. The AI Fund will bundle these business companies under its umbrella, and manage them under its control. In addition to Mitsui, NEA, Sequoia, Greylock Partners, and the SoftBank Group have also invested in the AI Fund for a total amount of US$175 million.
In Mitsui's new Medium-term Management Plan, "Driving Value Creation", which announced in May 2017, it presented the "The Sustained Creation of New Value" as its vision for the future. As stated in the plan, Mitsui positions advancing digital transformation (DT) initiatives, utilizing AI and the IoT, as a vital measure for reinforcing its innovation capabilities.
In addition to the above, Mitsui created a new executive position of Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and established the DT Team (*) within its Corporate Planning & Strategy Div. Mitsui is working to raise its consolidated earning performance through the company-wide implementation of cross-organizational DT activities, with the aim of optimizing the operating efficiency, maximizing added value of its global business assets, and creating new business.
Andrew Ng has expressed a wish to work with Mitsui as one of the strategic partners, in order to utilize AI technologies in the real business world and to provide AI solutions to challenge affecting Mitsui & Co. group's global business assets in a wide range of industries, as well as for Mitsui's partners and key customers. Mitsui is globally examining potential business and project candidates for such AI technology joint projects.
(*) The DT Team gathers and accumulates operation know-how and technology from Mitsui's business frontline units as data, and analyzes and controls this data by AI and other digital technologies. In this capacity, it acts as a control tower for enhancing the operating efficiency of and adding value to business assets, as well as to lead the company in creating new business. The DT Team consists of some 25 team members (some holding concurrent posts), mainly from the Business Innovation Department of the Corporate Planning & Strategy Division, as well as from the Information Technology Promotion Div., the IT & Communication Business Unit, and Mitsui Knowledge Industry Co., Ltd.
About AI Fund
|Name of Company||AI FUND, L.P.|
|Head Office||California, U.S.A.|
|Investment Focus||AI startups in various fields.|