Foreign Investors to Help Russia’s AI Development with $2bn

Russian companies developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions are set to get a significant boost from foreign investors, after the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) raised $90 billion rubles ($2 billion) from foreign investors to support, Vedomosti reports citing an RDIF report.

The state-owned wealth fund prepared the report for the meeting with President Vladimir Putin on AI advancement in the country, the business newspaper writes.

Russia has been looking to boost the start-up ecosystem, and the country’s traditional education emphasis on the hard sciences had helped many companies embrace technology. Russia is, for example, already a global force in fintech, according to a recent report, and actively supports nanotechnology.

The funds for AI development were raised from “partners from large sovereign funds and global corporations from Middle East and Asia,” RDIF representatives told Vedomosti.  RDIF manages $10 billion of its own funds and $40 billion in co-investments. About 5-10 AI-related investments annually are now planned, the report said.

Analysts surveyed by the newspaper believe that $2 billion is a large amount for the nascent Russian AI market, but note that investment initially overshooting the market size was a normal practice.

The RDIF said it screened 100 Russian AI projects, and narrowed it down to 20 that are now being negotiated. Among them are Oncobox, a startup that diagnoses cancer and selects oncology treatments, and Motorica, developing functional prosthetics. Previous reports said that RDIF will also invest in face recognition technology VisionLabs.