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May 20, 2015

Funding extends IBM Watson’s reach into travel & retail

IBM invests in WayBlazer and Sellpoints.

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM has invested in WayBlazer and Sellpoints, which are using Watson’s cognitive computing to improve their online travel and shopping applications.

The investments in WayBlazer and Sellpoint were part of a $5m series A and $7.5m series C funding round, respectively.

WayBlazer’s Discovery Engine utilises Watson technology to absorb a significant amount of data and create personalised travel recommendations for each customer.

Sellpoints’s IBM Watson powered Natural Selection app lets users to better understand individual shopper preferences and intent.

The company is developing a new shopping experience with Nicole Miller which will enable consumers to use Watson for discovering their suitable collections.

IBM Watson vice president Stephen Gold said: "IBM is committed to helping our partners accelerate the development and delivery of Watson enabled apps into market where we see endless opportunities for cognitive computing to transform entire industries.

"WayBlazer and Sellpoints are terrific examples of how cognitive computing technology can be used to help organizations redefine customer engagement and drive much deeper, meaningful and relevant consumer experiences."

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IBM said the investments in both the firms were part of the $100m it committed to Watson in 2014.

The company has recently invested in two other companies offering Watson-powered apps, Modernizing Medicine and Pathway Genomics.

Fourteen US and Canadian cancer institutes have recently collaborated with IBM to use its Watson supercomputer to speed up DNA analysis for personalised treatment.

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