IBM's Watson Group invests in Welltok

Summary:The idea behind Welltok is that the health industry can use social engagement tools and analytics to improve outcomes.

IBM's Watson Group has made its first investment in a startup tied to its cognitive computing ecosystem by participating in a $22.1 million venture round for Welltok.

Qualcomm Ventures and New Enterprise Associates were the other participants in Welltok's Series C funding round along with existing investors in the company. Welltok has raised more than $40 million in the last nine months.

welltok

The idea behind Welltok is that the health industry can use social engagement tools and analytics to improve outcomes.

Welltok is developing its CafeWell Concierge, which is powered by Watson. CafeWell uses Watson to talk about health management and optimization. Welltok and IBM forged a joint development pact last year.

Previously:  IBM Watson heads to Africa with $100m investment  |  IBM CEO Rometty: Watson, cognitive computing mainstreaming begins  |  IBM forms Watson Business Group: Will commercialization follow?

If all goes well, CafeWell will be able to use Watson's learning algorithms to figure out what health programs are most successful for lowering Body Mass Index and other health outcomes.

Last month, IBM said it would invest $1 billion to form its Watson Group and $100 million in startups building on its platform.

Welltok said it will use its funding to develop the CafeWell product line, expand its addressable market to include health plans and systems, insurance brokers and health managers.

Topics: Big Data, Health, IBM

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Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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