A London-based AI ecosystem builder with ties to Huawei and a deep learning pioneer plans to grow innovation here.

The use of AI and its industry acceptance has been growing steadily internationally, particularly in Southeast Asia (SEA). This has prompted one AI ecosystem builder in London to expand its operations to the region with a US$800 million fund to back promising new AI companies and academic research across the UK and globally.

Skymind Global Ventures (SGV), which announced the opening of its London office last month, is planning to expand to Southeast Asia region, namely Malaysia and Indonesia. This is part of Skymind global expansion plans to focus on training and investment in new Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. The region has been identified as one of the target markets for the investment fund, with a significant portion of the US$800 million to be made available to growing the region’s ecosystem.

SGV is led by founder and CEO Shawn Tan. Joining him is Skymind co-founder and creator of Eclipse Deeplearning4j, Adam Gibson, as Vice President. Gibson will manage its software division, Konduit, which trains and supports Eclipse Deeplearning4j clients. The firm plans to train up to 200 AI professionals for its operations in London and Europe and eventually expand the program into Southeast Asia.

Said Tan: “Skymind Global Ventures sees strong potential in Malaysia and Southeast Asian region to build a thriving AI ecosystem. From talent to incubating innovative start-ups, this region just needs the tools and expertise to become a global AI hub.” He also believes that Malaysia has a lot of untapped potentials to build AI talent and the ecosystem in terms of partnerships and implementing solutions.

SGV will use its London base to back research and development and generate business opportunities across Europe and Asia—one of the world’s biggest and most lucrative markets.

This is not the first foray for the SGV into Southeast Asia, as last December, Skymind AI Berhad, the regional counterpart of Skymind, had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Huawei Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd to develop a Cloud and Artificial Intelligence Innovation Hub in ASEAN beginning with Malaysia and Indonesia to foster innovation and talent development.