Microsoft Ventures Invests In Austin AI Startup Cognitive Scale

Austin—Microsoft Ventures has invested in Austin artificial intelligence startup CognitiveScale, filling out its Series B investment round to more than $25 million, the company reported Tuesday.

Cognitive Scale would not reveal the amount Microsoft has invested. In August, the startup announced it had raised a total of $21.8 million in the Series B round from investors such as Intel Capital and Norwest Venture Partners.  The Microsoft investment will go towards developing artificial intelligence software for the computing giant’s Microsoft HoloLens and Microsoft Azure products, according to a press release.

“Our goal is to embed cognitive systems of intelligence into a whole range of new personal computing applications and business processes, from customer engagement, to procurement and regulatory compliance, using hyper-personalized holographic projections and mixed reality,” CognitiveScale CEO Akshay Sabhikhi said in the press release.

CognitiveScale, which makes software that has created a cognitive cloud platform that can mine very large databases, will explore “mixed reality” applications for what it calls “cognitive commerce.” This would allow retail shoppers to engage with a virtual closet or showroom tailored specifically to their needs and preferences, for example. HoloLens is Microsoft’s “mixed reality” wearable headset, while Azure is a cloud computing service touted by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as the “first artificial intelligence supercomputer,” according to a report by ZDnet yesterday.

“With our investment, we aim to propel the development of new mixed reality experiences enabled by cognitive computing—CognitiveScale’s products and team of experts are great partners to bring new offerings to market,” Nagraj Kashyap, Microsoft Ventures’ corporate vice president, said in the release.

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