Cisco Acquires Mindmeld, An AI Startup, For $125 Million (NASDAQ: CSCO)

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO)has disclosed that it is acquiring MindMeld, an artificial intelligence startup based in San Francisco, California, for $125 million. MindMeld becomes the third acquisition by Cisco this month.

One of the products developed by the artificial intelligence startup which has a workforce of 24 employees is an AI platform which makes use of machine learning in enabling clients build human-like and intelligence conversational interfaces for just about any device or application. With this platform, coders can then go on to develop bots that are capable of recognizing and responding to human voices. Spotify, a music-streaming service, has used this technology to assist users search for and play music using natural language.

“With MindMeld, we will enhance our collaboration suite, adding new conversational interfaces to our collaboration products starting with Cisco Spark,” said Rob Salvagno, the M&A and investment head at Cisco.

Venture capital

MindMeld was started six years ago by Tim Tuttle, who is its current chief executive officer, and Moninder Jheeta. The startup has managed to raise $15 million from a list of investors who include KPG Ventures, Greylock Partners, Google Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intel Capital, Samsung Ventures, USAA, Bessemer Venture Partners, and IDG Ventures USA.

Following the acquisition, Tuttle and the rest of the MindMeld team will be absorbed into Cisco’s cloud collaboration group which is headed by general manager and senior vice president Jens Meggers.

Cisco’s collaboration suite

Currently, MindMeld possesses 10 patents which the networking gear giant will assist in the evolution of Cisco’s collaboration suite. One possible use for the patents by the networking gear giant includes enabling voice artificial intelligence in meeting rooms via Cisco’s telephony and video hardware. Already, Cisco has introduced artificial intelligence to its solutions not just in collaboration but also in application performance, orchestration and security.

Besides MindMeld the other two acquisitions Cisco has made in the recent past include Saggezza and Viptela. Saggezza is a firm that deals in big data analytics and Cisco purchased it for an undisclosed amount. Viptela, on the other hand, is a networking business which Cisco acquired for $610 million. Earlier in the year Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO ) also acquired AppDynamics for $3.7 billion. The startup assists business organizations in monitoring their apps’ performance. It is understood that there could be more acquisitions on the way for Cisco since, according to sources, a startup like MindMeld was not even in the list of possible acquisitions that Cisco had been eyeing.

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