Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Scaling for success: Our Series B Financing with Norwest Venture Partners and Intel Capital

Akshay Sabhikhi, CEO of CognitiveScale

There have been many technologies with the potential to change the world, but nothing comes close to the promise and potential of AI and its ability to transform businesses and industries.  Combined with the maturity of Big Data, Mobile, Cloud, and Analytics, we’re truly at the forefront of a massive technology revolution, arguably at the same scale and impact of the web browser.

AI as a discipline has been around for a long time, but the lack of practical results had relegated it to nothing more than science experiments with little realized commercial value.  Today, we’re starting to see those early promises being fulfilled. Confidence is building in companies like ours that we’re onto something big.

We’ve seen the likes of IBM, Google, Amazon and Microsoft launch their ML/Cognitive Services—a clear sign of what is to come. The big difference this time around is a shift from a pure technology play to industry tailored products that solve specific problems. No matter what technology you’re talking about, it’s always been this way. It’s always about driving tangible business outcomes. It is a race to the future. And we’re in it to be among the winners.

Our Series B funding with likeminded and future facing investors

In business, confidence is measured in dollars, which is why I’m so pleased to announce our partnership with Norwest Venture Partners and Intel Capital to close our Series B funding of $21.8 million. These investors see us as visionaries and pioneers in a field that has the power to transform industries and business processes. They value our leadership, talent, and experience. They are impressed with our success in attracting key customers and proving positive business outcomes in a matter of weeks. They like our broad go-to-market approach that balances direct selling with our channel strategy with companies such as IBM and Deloitte to penetrate massive markets while scaling how we deliver on our promises.

We plan to use the money to address the potential of our declared market segments while scaling up our operations. We will focus on expanding sales, enhancing our brand, and strengthening our products, with an emphasis on specific industries where our products can make the biggest impact. Our goal in the coming months is to strengthen our position as the practical AI Company, the company that delivers tailored, machine intelligence powered products to drive success in industry sectors like Healthcare, Commerce, and Financial Services.

Why Healthcare, Commerce, Financial Services?

We purposefully targeted industries where the incumbent models of engagement with the “customer” are at significant risk and where machine intelligence and learning has immediate potential to impact a real tangible change.  In Healthcare, for example, it is expected that 157M Americans will have one or more chronic diseases by the year 2020.  In Financial Services wealth management, trillions of dollars will change hands in the next 6-8 years, being passed down generations, and the new benefactors of this wealth are demanding a more personalized relationship with their investment professionals.  In Commerce, traditional retailers are faced with diminished brand loyalty and dwindling conversion rates at the expense of digital pure plays including Amazon.  The common element is the “customer”.

No more science projects. Practical AI that delivers measurable outcomes.

Our product ENGAGE focuses on transforming how your customers experience your company at the edge of the enterprise. It connects with customers and field employees through any digital touch point, interprets their goals, preferences, and context and delivers individualized insights by reasoning across billions of data points. As customers (shoppers, patients, financial clients) interact with the system, the system learns, enhances its understanding of the user and delivers future insights that are automatically tuned to account for goals, preferences, and the changing environment.

For example, a Large Global Bank is using ENGAGE to scale its Wealth Advisors with contextual insights about market events, portfolio changes, and stress tests that impact their wealth clients.  It’s enabling the bank to economically serve over 10x the number of clients they currently serve, including traditionally ignored mass affluent customers to reduce churn and drive loyalty

While ENGAGE works at the edge, AMPLIFY works at the core of an organization. It helps companies gain insight and take action from big data to deploy self-learning business processes that improve compliance and help implement innovative business models around their products and services. AMPLIFY helps elevate the productivity of employees by providing them with tailored and contextual insights helping them excel at their jobs. It makes every employee your smartest employee and making every business process a self-learning process.

For example, a Global CPG company with a $20 million annual IT support budget was losing 48 hours of employee productivity with each support ticket. In less than two months, AMPLIFY allowed the company to reduce trouble tickets fielded by the help desk by 20 percent and increased resolution time by 50 percent.

The DNA of Innovation

Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation distinguishes a leader from a follower.” He was right but what he didn’t say was how hard it is to do. Just look around at all the wreckage of technology companies that let initial success slip away because they failed to keep on innovating and failed to understand the evolving needs of their clients and the changing dynamics of the markets they serve. As a company, we’re dedicated to pushing the envelope. Innovation is in our DNA. This latest infusion of funding will help us expand our customer base and increase our insights into market and client needs—information that will make us sharper and more versatile as a trusted problem solver.

Our mandate is to leverage our products, ENGAGE and AMPLIFY to make our customers the “best” to engage with while enhancing decision-making and giving them the ability act quickly and strategically. Our products are more than machine learners. They are self-evolving. They adapt to get smarter and more useful over time. They are tailored to your industry and optimized to a business outcome. They integrate easily into existing client enterprise and data infrastructures. They will help make our customers better at what they do. This is the message we will be sending to new customers and markets that this latest capital will open up for us.

Exciting times are ahead!

Read the Entire Press Release

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