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Mission in New York and Washington – Collective[i] Sets Up Shop in Montréal: A Concrete Result of Québec’s Leadership in Artificial Intelligence

A concrete result of Québec’s leadership in artificial intelligence

New York, May 21, 2019 – Québec Premier François Legault has announced that New York’s Collective[i] is opening a business centre in Montréal. The New York–based company is the creator of one of the largest international networks of intelligent data, which puts artificial intelligence (AI) to work for the sales sector worldwide. By 2020, the company plans to expand its engineering, sales and marketing activities, which will result in the creation of 30 jobs in the Montréal area, with an average salary of $130,000.


The Premier made his announcement at Collective[i]’s head office in New York. The company’s customers are some of the most advanced commercial organizations in the world. The Premier emphasized the strength and vitality of Québec’s AI ecosystem, the world leader in research in this field.




Strategic meetings with Citigroup, Blackstone and Morgan Stanley

The New York leg of the Premier’s mission included important meetings with the leaders of some of the largest corporations that have their global headquarters in that city. François Legault met with John Hastings, CEO of Citi Canada, and Kristine Braden, chief of staff of the multinational’s global CEO. The Premier highlighted the favourable conditions in Québec offers that could attract a major U.S. bank and give it the most positive environment possible to continue its technological transition. In particular, he made sure his discussion partners were aware of Québec’s leading-edge AI expertise.


The Premier also visited Blackstone’s offices for a meeting with Stephen A. Schwarzman, the investment company’s CEO and co-founder. Hydro-Québec and a Blackstone subsidiary, Transmission Developers Inc., are collaborating on the development of the proposed Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line, designed to transmit clean, renewable Québec power to New York City. This ambitious project could enable the megalopolis to reach its goals regarding the fight against climate change.


The morning ended with a meeting with the vice chairman of Morgan Stanley, Thomas Nides, at the company’s head office. Morgan Stanley announced that it is continuing to diversify its activities in Montréal, particularly in the IA industry. The Premier took the opportunity to spotlight the presence of the world’s largest, most prestigious deep learning research team at MILA — Québec Artificial Intelligence Institute, directed by eminent professor Yoshua Bengio. The Premier affirmed that Québec is a front-line player in AI, ranging from research and innovation to application development to business launches.


To conclude the first leg of his mission to the United States, the Premier will visit Facebook’s offices to meet with Jérôme Pesenti, the company’s vice president of artificial intelligence. Québec’s business environment stands out for its culture of innovation, qualified workforce and ability to create synergy across a range of economic and academic sectors, giving rise to unique business opportunities, especially in AI. The Premier plans to highlight Québec’s many advantages in order to encourage the company to diversify its activities here. Facebook has had an AI research laboratory in Montréal since 2017.




“I want to be an economic premier. I’ve always said that we need more private investment in Québec to create good-paying jobs. Québec is a leader in artificial intelligence, an industry with very high-value-added jobs. Collective(i)’s announcement today proves this once again. Industry has considerable interest in AI applications, and it is growing strongly in many sectors, such as commerce, logistics and transportation, as well as banking. We need to highlight our knowhow in AI and hydroelectricity so we can use it as a lever to attract investment.”


François Legault, Premier of Québec


“Our research has shown us that the government of Canada and city of Montréal share our view that it is crucial to adopt technologies that have the potential to move humanity forward. That’s why Montréal, like Collective[i], has staked everything on the AI sector .”


Heidi Messer, Co-Founder and Chairman, Collective(i)




  • The combined efforts of Investissement Québec and Montréal International to convince Collective[i]’s leadership to open an office in Montréal have borne fruit. Montréal stood out as the first choice for the company’s leaders. The Montréal ecosystem’s power of attraction in AI played a determining role in their analysis.
  • Québec is a world leader in AI research and a competitive hub in data valorization.
  • The Québec government supports the development of the AI ecosystem, primarily so that research in this field will be reflected in concrete applications in Québec businesses.
  • The 2017–2018 Québec budget allocated $100 million to Université de Montréal for the creation of a Québec AI cluster.
  • The government announced several measures in its 2019–2020 budget plan, totalling $329 million over five years, to speed up the adoption of AI in Québec.