First Investment by IBM’s Watson Fund Is for Welltok
IBM has invested in Welltok, a Denver-based company working on health applications, as part of its $100 million venture capital fund to boost third-party use of its Watson cognitive computing platform.
The investment was part of a $22 million Series C investment that Welltok announced today. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates; Qualcomm Ventures also participated. Welltok has raised about $48 million in total.
IBM announced plans to make investments in companies working with Watson last month. It was part of a wider effort to double down on the Watson platform. The computer system was made famous in 2011 by a series of episodes of the TV game show “Jeopardy,” where it defeated two of the game’s human champions.
Welltok specializes in applications that help consumers manage their health, and allows health insurance providers to offer incentives like lowered premiums. Welltok said last year it would use the Watson technology to build a product called CaféWell Concierge, which is intended to help consumers manage certain health conditions and get rewards for making positive changes.
Steve Gold, the VP of IBM’s new Watson business unit, says the company is looking to make more investments in companies using the technology in the health, retail and travel sectors.