AI Capital LLC, (“AICap”) an enterprise applied artificial intelligence-focused (AI) venture capital firm, and XnFinity, Lda. (“XNFY”), a Portugal-based innovation Lab and incubator of software and innovative solutions, have announced a strategic partnership to initially collaborate on initiatives in the startup ecosystem for AI in hybrid and online retail.
The pandemic has put a premium on technology that supports agility in the creation, provision, distribution and delivery of societal needs and critical goods such as food, medicines and medical supplies and critical services such as mental and physical healthcare. The longer-term trend will be that societal benefit, flexibility and adaptability will be emphasized in technology adoption. AI will be a critical component of that trend. Hybrid and online retail will be essential to the distribution and delivery of critical goods to society.
XNFY and AICap’s collaboration will focus on delivering resources to young AI companies that will help create the new digitized society. These companies will help transform economies in a way that provides practical benefit rather than superficial convenience. A number of initiatives designed to encourage economic growth, implement AI solutions and foster multinational investment funds to invest in early-stage solutions will be incubated and accelerated by the XNFY Lab and its shared resources. XNFY Lab will give AICap unique access to its ecosystem for purposes of mentoring and longer-term investment, as well as prioritize AICap’s portfolio companies to be included in the solutions portfolio for XNFY’s industry partners’ adoption.
Other key highlights of the initiative:
- Initially, XNFY will add to AICap’s depth of expertise on applied AI across many industries by advising on investment opportunities in XNFY’s existing retail industry ecosystem
- AICap will use its AI company ecosystem to attract potential candidates for the XNFY Lab ecosystem of young companies and forward-looking retailers and will have access to the XNFY Lab stores to measure real environment impact and KPIs in the retail industry
- AICap will enable its portfolio companies to use the XNFY Lab for scale up and support in order to reduce the costs of R&D and development
- AICap and XNFY will share university relationships to identify XNFY Lab startups, prospective AICap portfolio companies and talented personnel for their respective partner and portfolio companies
- AICap and XNFY will collaborate on economic development of AI technology hubs in Portugal, the United States and across EU member states through AICap’s ecosystem and XNFY’s network of relationships across Europe
XNFY Lab (“Lab”) is focused on incubating and driving innovation in retail through technology and partnerships. The Lab is working with best-in-class startups and retail companies from across Europe, the U.S. and other regions. These businesses benefit from minimized costs and risks of innovation, and gain unique market insight into technologies implemented in physical and online stores. Currently the Lab has a set of disruptive AI projects in its pipeline in consortium with retailers, startups, universities and research centers across Europe.
“The pandemic has exposed business challenges that can be addressed by the Digitization of Society through AI,” said Neville Teagarden, Managing Partner of AI Capital. “AI Capital is delivering vision and driving solutions through our expertise in AI. The collaboration with XnFinity extends our reach across additional industries and geographies and is an important component of our vision for the use of AI for the betterment of society. Their partnership with Microsoft aligns well with our firm’s goal to enable an ecosystem of innovative, rapidly growing and impact-driven companies that use AI to create this Digitized Society.”
“Today Cloud and AI is a trend and we have integrated those into our strategies since the beginning, so we know how important it is to our joint initiative to have investors that understand AI and its challenges,” said Orlando Ribas Fernandes, Founder and CEO of XnFinity. “This announcement is very strategic for our Lab since it is the piece that helps us to close our ecosystem cycle.”
“The partnership between XNFY and AI Capital will bring together a unique community across retailers and retail startups, enabling the future of retail through technology innovation utilizing cloud and AI, that will benefit the industry as a whole. Retailers must reduce the overall cost and time implementing new solutions, utilizing current and emerging technology, whilst embracing the startup ecosystem” said Paul Maher, General Manager of the Industry Experiences team at Microsoft.