A lot can happen in a year!

Exactly 12 months ago today, we were delighted to announce that JF Gagné was joining Real Ventures as an EIR, with a particular focus on driving the firm’s AI initiatives. Nine months later JF captured the world’s attention with the launch of Element AI, co-founded with Real Ventures, Nicolas Chapados and Yoshua Bengio. Remarkable talent, strategic co-investors, notably Microsoft Ventures, and ongoing support from the RV team have all helped the company grow at a breakneck speed.

Fast forward to today and both Element AI and Real Ventures are excited to announce that their close ties will be further strengthened with two current Real Ventures team members transitioning to full-time roles at Element AI.

Omar Dhalla, our Toronto-based Venture Partner for the past two years will assume the role of VP Corporate Innovations at Element AI openning the Toronto office, while Alex Shee, our Montreal-based Investment Associate will become a Program Director working directly with the CEO on strategic initiatives. Omar will continue to hold the title of Venture Partner but focus on the Element AI business.

In the same post one year ago, we mentioned that everyone at Real Ventures was expected to have a constructive impact not only on portfolio companies but also on the wider startup ecosystem. In this regard both Omar and Alex have been truly exemplary and we are convinced that, as part of the Element AI team, they will continue delivering on this complementary promise of helping startups and building ecosystems.