Former IBM Watson execs land $21.8 million for artificial intelligence startup

Big data company CognitiveScale intends to use the new financing to develop its portfolio of cloud-based cognitive computing products.
By Bernie Monegain
11:16 AM
IBM Watson artificial intelligence

CognitiveScale revealed a $21.8 million round of financing to advance it industry-specific machine intelligence software.

“This funding will accelerate our mission to bring scalable, practical AI to the enterprise,” CognitiveScale Executive Chairman Manoj Saxena said in a statement. The investment will go toward growing sales and accelerating development of its product portfolio.

The Austin, Texas-based startup offers two flagship products: Engage and Amplify. The technology interprets multi-structured big data and weaves knowledge and learning across the enterprise. Both products learn from new data and customer interactions to deliver targeted insights and advice on making changes to achieve top performance.

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“Our cognitive cloud software pairs man and machine so they can achieve something new and exponentially valuable together: intelligent user engagement and business processes that get smarter and more useful with time,” Saxena added.

Saxena and other top CognitiveScale executives have roots in IBM Watson. Saxena was the first general manager of the IBM Watson division; CEO Akshay Sabhikhi was the global leader for IBM’s Smarter Care; and Cognitive Scale founder and Chief Technology Officer Matt Sanchez led Watson Labs before launching Cognitive Scale in 2013.

Norwest Venture Partners and Intel Capital led the Series B round of funding. Norwest’s Promod Haque and Intel Capital’s Vibhor Rastogi will join CognitiveScale’s board of directors.

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“The impact of artificial intelligence continues to grow as we improve a machine’s ability to learn and predict using large amounts of data,” added Michael Greene, corporate vice president, Intel Software and Services Group and general manager of System Technologies and Optimization.

Since emerging from stealth mode in October 2014, CognitiveScale has deployed its products with Fortune 100 companies in healthcare, as well as in financial services and commerce.

The startup boasts more than 60 patents filed around its Deep Cognition Engine, with industry-specific artificial intelligence algorithms that understand and adapt to changing user and market conditions while continuously reprogramming themselves to improve the quality of the insights they produce. 

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