CognitiveScale Rakes in $15 Million to Enhance AI-Driven Solutions

Austin, TX-based machine intelligence software provider CognitiveScale has raised $15 million in funding from investors including Norwest Venture Partners, Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures, The Westly Group and USAA. The latest round brings the startup’s total funding to $50 million as it seeks to further develop its augmented intelligence products for global enterprises.

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The four-year-old startup will use the funds to enhance its cognitive engine for large enterprises across industries such as health care, retail and finance. CognitiveScale’s core products, Engage and Amplify, aim to help mega-businesses interpret massive sums of data and user behavior by sifting through structuring and unstructured data from both first and third party sources, different parts of an organization and outside sources, in order to “augment” human decision-making.

Spending on AI and cognitive systems is expected to skyrocket from $8 billion last year to $47 billion by 2020, according the research firm IDC. The banking industry is positioned to benefit largely from the trend, accounting for nearly 20% of the current spend. Global consulting firm Accenture expects AI to become the primary way for financial institutions to communicate with their customers within the next three years.

CognitiveScale’s client, financial services group USAA, made a strategic investment in the latest round as it implements the startup’s solutions across its 12-million-member organization in efforts to access predictive, data-driven banking and insurance services.

As the possibilities for AI to enhance business decision making grow, the number of startups in the space has increased accordingly. Earlier this year, competitor DataRobot raised $54 million to bring machine learning to predictive analytics provider. Also this month, data mining and crowdsourcing company Crowdflower raised another $20 Million from investors including existing investor Microsoft Ventures in order to combine human input with artificial intelligence to enhance business insights.