The Boeing Co. is investing an undisclosed amount in SparkCognition, helping the Austin, Tex.-based company close a $32.5 million funding round. Boeing’s stake was placed through HorizonX, a venture it set up recently to direct investment capital for technology commercialization and new market access.
SparkCognition develops “machine learning technology” — i.e., artificial intelligence — particularly for applications in information technology, energy, oil-and-gas, manufacturing, finance, aerospace, defense, telecommunications and security.
Boeing was joined in the investment by Verizon Ventures, a private equity group.
SparkCognition founder and CEO Amir Husain said the new investment “serves as tremendous validation of our technology and track record.” In an earlier funding round, SparkCognition raised over $16 million from a number of private-equity groups, including Verizon Ventures, CME Ventures and Brevan Howard.
Reportedly, several of the initial investors investors joined Boeing and Verizon Ventures in the new funding.
Husain opined that, "the world is well on its way to an AI-powered revolution — where cognitive systems will truly augment human capabilities, but at machine speed and big-data scale.”
"SparkCognition is at the forefront of a technological shift in machine learning and artificial intelligence that will revolutionize every aspect of industry. They are leaders in AI, and they are pursuing the types of technologies that are critical to our future products and services," stated Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief technology officer and senior vice president for Engineering, Test & Technology.
Other new business ventures for Boeing’s HorizonX include stakes in Upskill, a developer of enterprise software for augmented reality wearables used in manufacturing, field service, and logistics; and Zunum Aero, a developer of alternative propulsion aircraft.