Banking and AI in Canada have crossed paths yet again.
TD Bank has announced the acquisition of Layer 6, an AI innovator based in Toronto. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The move cements TD’s commitment to AI and their plans to incorporate cutting-edge technology into their technology stack.
Layer 6 is a relatively small AI startup with only 17 employees, and every worker will be joining TD. The company has previously worked with banks before, as they partnered with Scotiabank to develop a personalization engine based on marketing products to people with the bank’s Scene Loyalty Card.
There is a strong chance that Layer 6 will bring its AI personalization skills to TD. Whether that results in some kind of rewards or augmented chatbot experience remains to be unseen.
“TD is committed to leading the market with new innovation and superior customer experiences,” said Jordan Jacobs, Layer 6’s co-CEO and co-founder. “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.”
The founders of Layer 6, including Jacobs as well as Tomi Poutanen, are also founders of the Vector Institute, a world-leading AI educational organization based at the University of Toronto. TD is also a supporter of Vector.
“Anticipating and meeting customer needs are at the heart of our promise, and we are excited to further accelerate our innovation agenda to deliver well into the future,” said Bharat Masrani, CEO of TD Bank. “As we deploy new solutions, we will extend our deep relationship with customers across all of our platforms and offer personalized, connected and legendary experiences for our customers in the digital age.”
The acqui-hire of Layer 6 is the latest in a string of AI-related moves by TD Bank. Last year, the group announced a partnership with conversational chatbot creator Kasisto. Through that interface, customers can check account information, review transactions and monitor spending levels. TD also collaborated with Amazon’s Alexa to introduce new banking-related skills when Alexa was formally introduced to Canada a few months ago.