Voice-Analysis Software Firm Cogito Gets $15M Round Led by OpenView

Cogito has drawn another investment in its voice-analysis software business, to the tune of $15 million.

The Series B funding round comes almost exactly a year after the Boston-based firm closed a $5.5 million Series A round. By our count, Cogito has raised around $25 million total from investors and over $5 million in grants, according to SEC filings and past interviews.

OpenView led the new funding round. Previous backers Romulus Capital and Salesforce Ventures also contributed.

The money will fund further development of Cogito’s products and expansion of its approximately 40-person team, co-founder and CEO Joshua Feast said in an e-mailed statement.

“We anticipate that we will roughly double in size within the next 12-18 months,” he said, referring to hiring plans.

The nine-year-old MIT Media Lab spinout was co-founded by renowned data scientist Alex “Sandy” Pentland. Its behavioral analytics software is based on nearly a decade of MIT research into technology that can capture and interpret “honest signals”—involuntary cues in speech and behavior that help in understanding a person’s intent.

The company has tested its software in multiple settings, including government-funded research into detecting and monitoring psychological disorders among military personnel.

But last year Cogito began pushing into the commercial market, with a focus on selling the product to businesses with departments that field phone calls from customers (think insurers, healthcare firms, and financial services companies). The idea is to instantly highlight possible trouble spots during a call and give the customer-service employee a chance to recognize mistakes and adapt his or her communication style to the customer’s perceived preferences. Cogito says its software helps clients keep their customers happy, while making customer-service employees more productive and engaged.

“Now, more than ever, companies are competing to attract and retain customers through superior service,” said Scott Maxwell, OpenView’s founder and managing partner, in a press release. “Cogito’s live, in-call guidance and ability to provide an instant window into customer perception is helping drive dramatic improvements in customer satisfaction and employee engagement.” Maxwell joined Cogito’s board as part of the investment.

Feast declined to share sales figures, but he said Cogito has seen an uptick in customer sign-ups. Clients include Humana, Zurich, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. “We have experienced tremendous momentum,” Feast said.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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