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Intel and Microsoft join $15 million investment into CognitiveScale to give enterprises AI-powered insights from big data

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Machine intelligence software provider CognitiveScale announced a fresh $15 million in funding this week, with notable investors including Microsoft Ventures, Intel Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, USAA, and the Westly Group.

Founded out of Austin, Texas, in 2013, CognitiveScale builds what it calls “augmented intelligence software” for industries including healthcare and finance. Its core products, Engage and Amplify, are designed to help large enterprises interpret big data and user behavior. It’s basically all about pulling together structured and unstructured data — be it first- or third-party — held in different parts of an organization, and externally, to garner insights and offer advice to “augment” human decision making.

Financial services group the USAA‘s decision to invest in this round was a strategic move, as it is also implementing CognitiveScale across the organization, giving its 12 million members access to predictive, data-driven banking and insurance services.

As with many industries, AI is expected to explode in the financial services sector, with some reports anticipating that AI will be the primary way that banks communicate with customers within three years. Behind the scenes, AI and cognitive systems — that is, machines that simulate human thought processes — spending is expected to grow from $8 billion in 2016 to become a $47 billion industry by 2020, according to IDC, with the banking industry already accounting for 19 percent of that spend.

Prior to now, CognitiveScale had raised around $35 million in outside funding, with the likes of Intel, Microsoft, and IBM participating in previous rounds too, and with its latest tranche the company said that it will double down on its efforts further develop its flagship Engage and Amplify products.

“This round of funding demonstrates continued confidence in our strategy to help businesses augment and extend human creativity and capabilities,” said CEO of CognitiveScale Akshay Sabhikhi. “We have delivered real and measurable outcomes with some of the largest banks, healthcare and retail organizations, and are delighted to see the great client and investor demand for our enterprise AI products.”

A number of companies are working on products that use AI to improve decision-making in the workplace. A few months back, DataRobot raised $54 million to bring machine learning to predictive analytics, allowing anyone within the enterprise to tinker with AI to see whether it can improve their decision making.

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