Temasek backs $100m Series C in US AI firm SparkCognition

Artificial intelligence photo by Reuters

US-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup SparkCognition has raised $100 million in its Series C funding round led by Los Angeles-based venture capital firm March Capital Partners and backed by existing and new investors, including Singapore’s state investor Temasek Holdings.

The latest funding, which brings the Texas AI startup’s total money raised to $175 million, will further boost the company’s offering, especially in cognitive computing analysis, according to a statement.

Established in 2013 by serial entrepreneur Amir Husain, SparkCognition currently deploys four main products across multiple industries; automated model building product, AI-built cybersecurity solution, analytics solution, and natural language processing solution.

The said products unlock insights and make predictions based on historical maintenance data and logs, and protect companies from cyber threats, the company said.

“We enable our customers to weave AI into the fabric of their organizations. We work together to build human-level intelligence applied at machine scale to optimize operations and find new solutions to old problems,” SparkCognition said on its website.

The company builds AI technology for industrial applications, targeting industries like oil and gas, defense, utilities, aviation, and financial services. It has partnerships and engagements with top companies across multiple industries, including The Boeing Company, Hitachi High-Technologies, Aker BP, and many others.

The company first raised an undisclosed amount in its Series A round in 2013. Its extended Series A funding secured an additional $6 million in 2016, led by CME Ventures and Verizon Ventures. Its Series B round in 2017 raised $32.5 million and another $24 million in 2018.

SparkCognition said its latest funding round was also participated by new investors, including Kerogen Digital Solutions (KDS), Hearst Ventures, Dalus Capital, Sustainable Technology Ventures, Blue Horizon ex Ventures, Founders Equity Partners, and former Australian Prime Minister & former managing director of Goldman Sachs Australia, Malcolm Turnbull.

One of its competitors in the enterprise AI space, Cylance, was acquired by Blackberry for $1.4 billion in November 2018 after raising a total of $279 million in funding over five rounds.

“In a short few years, SparkCognition has proven itself to be one of the leading industrial AI companies in the world,” said Sumant Mandal, Managing Director and co-founder of March Capital Partners.

Last month, March Capital Partners, filed with the US SEC to raise up to $410 million for its third VC fund – March Capital Partners Fund III LP, according to its latest filing with the US SEC.

The stage-agnostic firm, which is mainly focused on the US market, was also keen to step up its pace of investments in India and was also considering setting up base in the country. Its India portfolio includes General Atlantic-backed payments firm BillDesk and online automobile marketplace CarTrade.

The filing for the third fund comes eight months after the VC firm raised nearly $156.63 million for 78 investors for March Capital Partners Fund II LP and another $143.35 million from 51 investors for March Capital Opportunity Fund LP.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.