Microsoft Invests Into Startups Element AI And CognitiveScale

  • 29 June 2017 04:00:22 PM
  • By Kevin Rands

Technology giant, Microsoft, has increased its investment into Element AI, which is a Montreal-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup working on commercial-grade AI systems in various sectors. The funding was also backed by Intel, Nvidia, and Tencent.

CEO Jean-François Gagné said, “Intel, Microsoft, and NVIDIA, as pioneers and champions of AI hardware and software, likewise understand that their businesses flourish as every company is empowered with world-class AI.”

In addition to jumping back in with Element AI, Microsoft was also noted as one of the firms that helped invest the $15 million for CognitiveScale. This company is based out of Austin, Texas and is a software provider for healthcare organizations, commerce groups, and financial services. This particular firm was funded over $50 million in investments to date.

Microsoft had previously made an investment into Element AI last year as a push toward engaging with the AI startup community. This deal allowed Element AI access to the monumental Microsoft cloud and researchers, who have been making huge moves in AI on their own. Financial details of the initial financing are not available.

“This round of funding demonstrates continued confidence in our strategy to help businesses augment and extend human creativity and capabilities,” said Akshay Sabhikhi, CEO of CognitiveScale in a June 13 announcement. “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.”

It might seem as if Microsoft is only focusing on AI nowadays but this is far from the truth. Microsoft is also very focused on cybersecurity, as well. They recently took part in $10 million Series B funding for Trusona, which provides secure identity authentication technologies. This aligns quite well with the goal Microsoft has of eliminating passwords altogether.

“Identity management is a critically important and growing space,” said Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president, Microsoft Ventures, in a June 13 announcement. “Helping businesses and consumers move toward a safer and more secure digital world is a priority for Microsoft. We believe in the work Trusona is doing to give their enterprise clients peace of mind when it comes to data protection.”

Removing passwords would take care of one of the most common causes of data breath. Stolen password and username combinations are becoming more regular as time goes on, leaving a lot of people out there unprepared. A study by Rapid7 found that the hackers tend to use authentication and credential attacks the most often to gain access into networks that they otherwise would not be able to reach.

Microsoft is certainly in the AI sector with investments coming out left and right, something we should all appreciate. As one of the largest technology companies in the world, we can see that good hands are still at the helm. Of course, how these companies being invested in will fare is still unknown, it seems that things are moving in the right direction.

Kevin Rands

Founder of Disruptor Daily. Serial Entrepreneur. Passionate about all-things disruption.



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