The European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group) launched a new financing instrument to support artificial intelligence companies across Europe. The co-investment facility of up to €150m will allow the EIB Group to invest alongside funds backed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) in companies that are active in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector and in technologies that directly complement AI, such as Blockchain, the Internet of Things and robotics.
Europe’s artificial intelligence sector has a multibillion-euro funding gap compared with the United States and China. The facility launched today targets this gap. It complements and builds on EIB and EIF expertise in the sector, developed through the existing €100m Artificial Intelligence/Blockchain pilot under InnovFin Equity and direct EIB financing for AI companies through its venture debt instrument.
The new instrument is part of a larger initiative of the EIB Group and the European Commission to support the development of Europe’s digital future in areas such as high performance computing, quantum technologies and cybersecurity, to name a few.
“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,” said EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska, responsible for innovation and digitalisation.
“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. That is why I am very proud of the new instrument we have launched today. By using our resources and combining the expertise and market access of the EIB and the EIF we are pioneering new ways of financing AI, and helping to encourage more investment in this important sector.”
EIF Chief Executive Alain Godard said: “Artificial intelligence is a key component in a technological revolution that we are already witnessing. There is strong market demand for co-investments in this sector. The EIB’s expertise in assessing individual equity-type investments and the EIF’s market reach and ability to leverage strongly on the fund managers in our portfolio active in the AI domain will ensure that the facility is deployed efficiently.”