May 16, 2017
Cisco is on an acquisition spree announcing its intent to buy 3 companies in a span of just over ten days. Cisco has announced that it is buying conversational AI startup MindMeld in a $125 million deal. This is Cisco's fourth acquisition this year with three of those being announced this month.
MindMeld, a startup founded in 2011 began by developing an app for the iPad which would listen in on your conversations and provide relevant information. Since then it has come a long way to include a suite of API's for parsing, reasoning and generating language.
"With MindMeld, we will enhance our Collaboration suite, adding new conversational interfaces to our collaboration products starting with Cisco Spark," said Rob Salvagno, Cisco's head of corporate development. "I’m excited for the potential represented by the MindMeld team and their technology, coupled with Cisco’s market-leading collaboration portfolio, to enable us to create a user experience that is unlike anything that exists in the market today".
Cisco has been very serious about its future plans for its software business and they realize that the AI will form the core of this service. The acquisition helps Cisco provide an interface for interaction between users and the computer across all its platforms, starting with the Cisco Spark.
"The workplace of the future is one powered by AI," said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president, Cisco IoT and Applications Group. "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 said that the MindMeld team will form the new Cognitive Collaboration team within Cisco's IoT and applications group. Cisco will acquire MindMeld for $125 million in cash and assumed equity awards. The acquisition is expected to close in Cisco's fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017, following customary closing conditions and regulatory review.