TD Bank buys Toronto AI startup

Layer 6, Toronto AI startup, was acquired by TD. This will help TD bank with their artificial intelligence ambitions as many financial institutions started rushing into AI space.

The acquisition price was not disclosed. The company will remain in their mid town Toronto location, and will do work exclusively for TD from now on.

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Michael Rhodes, the TD bank’s group head of innovation, technology and shared services, said:

“We’ve made enormous investments in data and data infrastructure over the past several years, ” Mr. Rhodes said. “We didn’t have substantive intellectual capital around AI, so this actually filled in a gap for us.”

This is the first AI deal where AI company gets acquired by a bank. Artificial intelligence could potentially help banks with their cost management and client satisfaction rates.

Layer 6 AI (layer6.ai) enables enterprise clients to deploy the most advanced Deep Learning solutions to accelerate their business through better use of data. Layer 6 AI SaaS clients include large Financial Service and Insurance firms, Media/Cable companies, E-Commerce and Retail brands, and news publications.

Canada has seen an influx of US based Fortune 500 companies like Google, Facebook, Netflix, Uber, Lyft and Amazon over the last few years.

AI and machine learning startups in Canada had received over $400m Canadian dollars in investment funds over the last 3 years.

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TD has published the following statement on their media website regarding the acquisition:

There's no denying that there's a lot of hype around AI in the marketplace. So what's the opportunity for banking? And more importantly, how does this tie back to TD's strategy of solving for business problems, vs. chasing the next trend?

For us, it all comes down to how AI can be used drive value for our customers through predictive and personalized experiences. It does this in the following ways:

  1. AI takes banking back to the 1970’s.  No doubt  AI is the future of banking, but the irony is that it will actually take us back to a time (somewhere around the early 1970’s) when we knew everything about each and every one of our customers, truly understanding  their needs at a personal level, and offered services to support those needs. Today with the amount of available data to power our AI capabilities, we have a tremendous opportunity to know our customer better and deliver experiences they wouldn’t have ever imagined.

  2. AI makes our people better. By creating better insights at the right time in the right channels, the technology can help people do their jobs better, more efficiently, and with a better customer experience.

  3. AI is making banking more human. When we talk about becoming an AI or data driven organization, we mean that we are focused on driving value from the data that we have to deliver better experiences for our customers, making banking better. Think of it this way – a phone channel colleague will be able to have a more meaningful conversation because software is analyzing the customer's journey and needs in real-time; loans can be approved faster; and digital applications can provide more personalized offers, advice and interactions, and so much more. It's about knowing our customers better to bring value and simplify the banking experience – and their lives.