Cisco – the worldwide leader in internet and networking – announced this morning that it is acquiring the AI startup MindMeld for $125 million. MindMeld, which was founded in 2011 and originally called Expert Labs, helps companies and businesses to build conversational interfaces with cloud-based services.
What MindMeld is about?
The artificial intelligence-based startup was released on the stage of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012. The AI startup wanted at that time to make an iPad application that could listen in to one’s conversation and offer relevant contextual information. The startup has since then expanded not only its business but its offerings to include a suite of APIs for analyzing, resolving, reasoning about and generating language.
Previously, the AI startup had raised over $15.4 million in venture capital financing from Bessemer Venture Partners, Intel Capital, GV and Greylock Partners, among others. Conversational artificial intelligence is continuing to be an interesting space for M&A activity. Last year, the South Korea-based smartphone and electronics making giant – Samsung – spend about $215 million for Viv with the purpose of repackaging it into Bixby. (Bixby is the personal assistant of the Korea-based smartphone maker.)
News site TechCrunch notes “Cisco has been on an acquisition spree as of late.” According to the news site, the company bought AppDynamics earlier in 2017 for an astounding $3.7 billion. The company is buying these startups and other businesses to be defined as a software company.
MindMeld team will form the Cognitive Collaboration team of Cisco
The internet provider says that the team at the AI startup will form the Cognitive Collaboration team of Cisco. In a blog post, Rob Salvagno, head of corporate development of Cisco, said, “With MindMeld, we will enhance our Collaboration suite, adding new conversational interfaces to our collaboration products starting with Cisco Spark.”
On Thursday, Cisco Systems said that it will pay over $125 million to purchase MindMeld. This is the company’s third acquisition in the first two weeks of May. The AI startup has over ten patents that Cisco Systems said will assist in evolving its collaboration suite. Salvagno said, “Artificial intelligence represents a tremendous opportunity to expand the reach and enhance the capabilities of enterprise technology.” He added, “At Cisco, we have already been introducing AI into our solutions across security, orchestration, application performance and collaboration.”
MindMeld, which was founded by Chief Executive Officer Tim Tuttle and Moninder Jheeta, had raised over $15 million since it was founded late in 2014. The investors of the startup include KPG Ventures, Greylock Partners, Intel Capital, Samsung Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, IDG Ventures USA, USAA, Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel.