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article imageTD Bank acquires AI startup, Layer 6 AI

By Karen Graham     Jan 9, 2018 in Technology
Toronto - TD Bank is acquiring artificial intelligence startup Layer 6 AI for an undisclosed amount as financial services companies increasingly look to tap the potential of artificial intelligence.
TD Bank is Canada's largest by assets and the sixth largest bank in North America by branches, serving 25 million customers. TD also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with approximately 11.5 million active online and mobile customers.
Michael Rhodes, the group head of innovation, technology and shared services with TD, says the bank has been looking to build up its capabilities with artificial intelligence (AI) for some time, according to the Globe and Mail.
Rhodes also pointed out that with the many ways customers can access a bank, such as via smartphone apps, online, social media as well as through call centers and branches, it has become more difficult to know exactly what a customer is looking for and to anticipate a customer's needs.
"What we hope to gather from AI is the ability to kind of know and understand our customers, in the same way that store manager knew back in the 1970s," Rhodes said.
"The mass amounts of data with increases in computing power really give rise to the ability for machine learning, or artificial intelligence, to really play a much more prominent role," he said.
Acquisition part of TD's overall drive towards high tech solutions
The acquisition of Layer 6 AI builds on a very impressive record of accomplishments by TD in building its capabilities with artificial intelligence. They include the following, according to Street Insider: *TD is collaborating with the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, which is developing the next generation of AI technologies.
*TD recently announced an agreement with leading conversational AI provider, Kasisto to integrate the company's KAI Banking platform into TD's top-ranked mobile app.
*TD recently collaborated with Amazon to introduce new voice banking "skills" on Alexa.
*TD was the first financial institution in Canada to offer a chatbot on Twitter to empower our customers to get instant help on select general inquiries.
*Committed to the future development of data and analytics talent – a critical and foundational need for successful AI solutions – TD is funding new initiatives at both Western University in London, Ontario and the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.
Layer 6 AI founders Jordan Jacobs and Tomi Poutanen are co-founders of the Vector Institute.
Vector ...
Layer 6 AI founders Jordan Jacobs and Tomi Poutanen are co-founders of the Vector Institute. Vector Institute Founders (back row, left to right): Jordan Jacobs, Ed Clark, Geoffrey Hinton, Sanja Fidler and Tomi Poutanen; (first row, left to right): Roger Grosse, Richard Zemel, Brendan Frey, Raquel Urtasun and David Duvenaud.
Layer 6 AI
Layer 6 AI makes a name for itself
Layer 6 AI was launched in 2016, and the startup uses AI in its platform to analyze various forms of data to learn and anticipate an individual customer’s needs. Layer 6 founders Tomi Poutanen and Jordan Jacobs are also co-founders of the Vector Institute, a world leader in AI research and education that TD also supports.
The company's platform allows financial institutions to use the most advanced Machine Learning solutions through a world-leading Artificial Intelligence prediction engine for enterprise data. This allows the bank to anticipate how to provide each customer with a better, more personalized experience.
Layer 6 has also been recognized for its leading accuracy in real-time personalization and prediction through engagements with global companies and as a winner of the 2017 RecSys Challenge by a wide margin over top international AI labs. The company's data science team, led by Maks Volkovs does ground-breaking machine learning research which is regularly published and presented at top AI conferences, including NIPS, ICML and RecSys.
TD in Markham  Ontario  at 220 Commerce Valley Drive West.
TD in Markham, Ontario, at 220 Commerce Valley Drive West.
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Jordan Jacobs, the Co-CEO & Co-Founder of Layer 6, said in a press release that, "TD is committed to leading the market with new innovation and superior customer experiences. Layer 6 was founded to help organizations harness the power of artificial intelligence, and we are excited to join TD and help them build for the future."
While neither TD or Layer 6 would give out any details on how the technology would be used by the bank, Rhodes said it could be used for detecting certain spending patterns, such as buying a house, leading to TD offering a mortgage.
More about TorontoDominion Bank, Layer 6 Inc, Artificial intelligence, RecSys Challenge, startup investments
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