Cloud IT service provider ServiceNow announced earlier this week that it is acquiring Canadian startup Element AI. This deal is ServiceNow's fourth AI acquisition in 2020—earlier in the year it picked up AIOps company Loom Systems, conversational AI platform Passage AI, and configuration data management company Sweagle.
Element AI, which was founded in 2016 by a group of pioneering AI scientists, is in the business of developing AI-based enterprise services that are—according to its website—accessible, scalable, and trusted. Jean-François Gagné, CEO of Element AI, wrote of the acquisition: “We believe this is our best path to reach our initial ambition, to make AI accessible to the enterprise, and to help people and machines work smarter, together.”
ServiceNow has said that the main objective of this acquisition is to gain technical talent and AI capabilities, and that most of the team's scientists and practitioners will be retained. For instance, co-founder and lead fellow Dr. Yoshua Bengio, one of the world's top AI scientists, will take on the role of technical advisor to ServiceNow. However, the startup's existing business will most likely be wound down.
ServiceNow Chief AI Officer Vijay Narayanan sadi: "AI technology is evolving rapidly as companies race to digitally transform 20th century processes and business models. With Element AI’s powerful capabilities and world class talent, ServiceNow will empower employees and customers to focus on areas where only humans excel – creative thinking, customer interactions, and unpredictable work. That’s a smarter way to workflow."
The acquisition will also involve ServiceNow's expansion into the Canadian market, with the establishment of an AI Innovation Hub—a technology development center—in Canada similar to other centers that the company had previously set up in India and across the US.