Swedish AI company scores huge investment

wallenberg invests in Peltarion

writer icon Anton Georgiev     ISB   |   Business     🕐 15. May. 2018

There is little doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) is the way of the future. Investing in and further developing this field seems like the next step. 

This is a step that the Wallenberg family took. They recently invested 11 million Euros in Swedish company Peltarion, a creator of software that enables companies to use artificial intelligence to improve their businesses.

AI is everywhere

AI is currently reshaping the global economy in big ways. Whether it is helping to identify diseases, used to power driverless cars or in aiding air-traffic management systems, it is believed that AI will have a bigger role in 2018. 

Peltarion creates a platform which develops, manages, and maintains an AI system using data sets, both public and private. The main target areas are companies that do not have their own applications and software but want to utilise AI in order to improve their operations.

Pros and cons

With all the benefits that AI can bring, there are still concerns about its safety. The biggest concern is what will happen when the artificial intelligence becomes more advanced than its human creators. This is something that British mathematician I.J. Good took the time to research in 1965, presenting his findings in a paper titled Speculations Concerning The First Ultra-intelligent MachineArtificial Intelligence could undergo a self-improvement, eventually leaving human intellect behind.

Creating this super-intelligence might help to end wars and diseases, becoming the biggest event in the history of mankind. It could potentially also be the last, particularly if the goals of mankind are not aligned with those of the AI before it becomes super-intelligent. 

Is AI really beneficial?

Some people doubt if such intelligence can actually be achieved while there are others who believe the creation of super-intelligent AI will be beneficial. Both outcomes are possible, but there is always the risk that intelligent AI can intentionally or unintentionally do great harm. Investments and research into the subject today may prevent problems in the future.

The Wallenberg Family

The Wallenberg’s are Sweden’s most powerful industrial family. The empire was started more than 150 years ago with the creation of a single bank, the Stockholm’s Enskilda Bank in 1856. One of the first commercial banks in the country, it was created by Andre Oscar Wallenberg, a naval officer. 

Today the family controls a business empire, with stakes in many of Sweden’s biggest multinationals. With a network of shareholdings owned by foundations, the family has control, or is a stakeholder, in such companies as Saab, Electrolux, Ericsson, and AstraZeneca.

Investor AB

In 1916 the Wallenberg family founded Investor AB, a leading owner of high-quality international companies based in the Nordic region. Using boards, Investor looks to improve the performance of its holders. It keeps its companies ranked best-in-class by using industrial experience and financial strength. British newspaper The Telegraph reported in 2014 that Investor AB was estimated to own roughly 40% of the Swedish stock market by the late 1990s

In 2015, the company changed its organisation to three sectors. One for active ownership, a second which focussed on development and expansion of owned subsidiaries, and the third consisted of investment in EQT. Investor AB is one of the founders of EQT Partners back in 1994 and has sponsored it ever since.

FAM AB, private holding company, owned by the three largest Wallenberg family foundations, manages assets as an active owner with a long-term ownership horizon. It focuses its ownership on strategic holdings and alternative investments. 

Lucrative investment opportunities

Using its experience as an unlisted company, FAM AB and the Wallenberg network are able to find new, unique, interesting and lucrative investment opportunities, as well as further develop existing holdings.

FAM recently invested 11 million Euros into Peltarion, raising their total financing up to 14 million Euros. Funding was also provided from EQT Ventures, which is in part owned by Investor AB. The funds will be used to accelerate the software developments and to hire extra staff. This was said in a statement, emailed on Tuesday.

Easier access to AI

In the same statement, Marcus Wallenberg said that “AI is already revolutionizing many companies around the world but it’s also depleting the world’s scarce AI talent resource.“ Peltarion’s program can make easier access to AI for companies, which does not have the resources.

Peltarion’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Luka Crnkovic – Friis said that “There is a lot of hype around AI, and often people expect too much in the short term”. He continued “But over the longer term, it will affect many industries and the situation today is that the technology is controlled by a handful of large tech companies. We don’t think that’s good and we want to spread it to as many people as possible”

Peltarion, located in Stockholm, Sweden, was founded 14 years ago by Mans Erlandsson and Luka Crnkovic – Friis. It specialises in the development of artificial neural networks and adaptive systems. Some companies and organisations which use Peltarion’s software include Tesla INC, NASA, and Deutsche Bank.

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