Cornerstone acquires Clustree for its AI-powered skills engine

Cornerstone paid $18.5 million for Clustree on the premise that their AI can help organizations better understand and manage their employees' skills.

Cornerstone On Demand, which makes human capital management (HCM) software, on Thursday announced it is acquiring Clustree, a French technology company with an AI-powered skills engine and an extensive skills ontology. Cornerstone is paying $18.5 million in all cash, and the deal is expected to close this quarter. 

Cornerstone plans to integrate Clustree's skill engine and skill ontology into multiple products that fall under its "people development solutions." The premise is that Clustree's AI can help organizations better understand the skills of their employees, how they can help employees cultivate new skills and where they need to recruit. 

Cornerstone's "people development" include recruiting tools, performance management tools, and content and personalized learning tools to help upskill workers. 

Clustree, founded in 2014, developed its skills ontology by analyzing more than 1 billion job skills across multiple languages. From there, it built a library of 53,000 verified skills it says can accurately describe any employee profile. Its customers include major brands like the French grocery store chain Carrefour and SNCF, France's national state-owned railway company.