Cisco To Acquire AI Startup MindMeld For $125 Million To Boost Spark UC Products
Cisco revealed plans on Thursday to acquire advanced artificial intelligence startup MindMeld for $125 million, making it the networking giant's second acquisition this month.
"The workplace of the future is one powered by AI," said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president of Cisco's IoT and Applications Group, in a statement. "This is a significant step toward making that workplace a reality. Integrating MindMeld into the Cisco Spark platform will transform how users interact in Cisco Spark Spaces, Cisco Spark Meetings, and Cisco Spark Care."
Cisco Spark is the vendor's flagship unified communications and collaboration product line. The San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant said it will leverage MindMeld's technology to "bring voice AI to meeting rooms" on a global basis.
MindMeld, a San Francisco-based startup, spent three years developing its MindMeld platform before launching it in 2014. The vendor says the platform makes it possible for companies to create intelligent conversational interfaces for any app or device.
Through its proprietary machine learning technology, MindMeld delivers accuracy to help users interact with voice and chat assistants in a more natural way, according to Cisco.
Cisco said the acquisition will power new conversational interfaces for its collaboration products, revolutionizing how users will interact with its technology, improving ease of use, and enabling new cognitive capabilities.
"[MindMeld] has been at the forefront of artificial intelligence and machine learning research on creating lifelike, convincing conversational interfaces," said Trollope, in a blog post. "Creating a high-quality conversational interface requires six distinct types of ML, including natural language processing, question answering, dialog management and so on. MindMeld has written the book on these technologies and has built the world's best conversational user interface platform."
MindMeld is led by CEO and founder Timothy Tuttle, who was also the founder of video search engine company Truveo, which was acquired by AOL in 2006 for an undisclosed amount.
The startup is backed by investors including Google, Samsung, Intel, KPG Ventures and Greylock Partners, to name a few.
The acquisition is expected to close in Cisco's fiscal fourth quarter. The MindMeld team will join Cisco's Cloud Collaboration group as the Cognitive Collaboration team.
Cisco has been on an acquisition tear over the past several years, acquiring seven companies last year. In 2015, the networking giant pulled the acquisition trigger a whopping eleven times.
Looking at this year, Cisco made a big splash in the cloud application market by acquiring AppDynamics for $3.7 billion. Cisco said AppDynamics will make it the only company able to deliver IT system visibility from the infrastructure level to the end user.
On May 1, Cisco revealed plans to acquire software-defined WAN startup Viptela for $610 million.