Waterloo tech startup Maluuba purchased by Microsoft
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Friday, January 13, 2017 1:31PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 14, 2017 6:33PM EST
A Waterloo-based company that teaches literacy skills to machines has been snapped up by Microsoft.
Maluuba announced its acquisition Friday in a blog post. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Maluuba’s founders, Sam Pasupalak and Kaheer Suleman, met as students at the University of Waterloo in 2010. The company was founded the following year.
Ever since, the company has been focused on finding ways to help computers and other machines understand human language – which is considered to be a pivotal step in the quest for true artificial intelligence.
Specific work at Maluuba has focused on finding ways to give machines memory skills, the ability to seek out information, and what the company calls “common sense reasoning.”
“Microsoft is an excellent match for our company,” the company’s blog post reads.
“Their ambitious vision of democratizing AI to empower every person and every organization on the planet fundamentally aligns with how we see our technology being used.”
Microsoft made its own announcement about the purchase, in which Harry Shum – the company’s executive vice-president of artificial intelligence – called Maluuba “one of the world’s most impressive” companies in its field.
“Maluuba’s vision is to advance toward a more general artificial intelligence by creating literate machines that can think, reason and communicate like humans – a vision exactly in line with ours,” he wrote.
“I’m incredibly excited about the scenarios that this acquisition could make possible in conversational AI.”
In addition to its office in Waterloo, Maluuba also has a presence in Montreal.