S&P Global acquires artificial intelligence startup Kensho for $500 million, makes it the largest A.I. deal in history
S&P Global acquires AI startup Kensho for $500 million, makes it the largest A.I. deal in history. S&P Global has acquired AI startup Kensho for $550 million. This makes the acquisition the largest price on an A.I. company to date. Despite the sale, Kensho will remain a stand alone brand, with Nadler remaining at the helm. Kensho was founded by Daniel Nadler. He launched Kensho five years ago out of the kitchenette of venture firm, General Catalyst, in Cambridge while simultaneously finishing a mathematics PhD. at Harvard. Kensho raised a total of $67.5 million before the acquisition. The startup was also backed by investors as diverse as Google Ventures, Goldman Sachs, and In-Q-Tel (the venture capital arm of the CIA).
Kensho was founded out of MIT and Harvard in 2013. Kensho’s team members come from veteran positions at Google, Apple, and Facebook, as well as academia. They are a diverse and spirited group of engineers and scientists who are accomplished analytical thinkers and passionate problem solvers. Together, our multi-talented team includes PhD physicists, Quantum Computing PhDs (including the creator of the world’s first solid-state two-bit quantum processor with electron spins), the co-founder of Nowcasting at Google, and one of the youngest-ever entrants to Harvard College (age 15).
The company made the announcement yesterday that it has signed an agreement to acquire Kensho Technologies Inc. (“Kensho”), a leading edge provider of next-generation analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data visualization systems to Wall Street’s premier global banks and investment institutions, as well as the National Security community. Kensho is a is a Japanese term from Zen tradition. Ken means “seeing,” shō means “nature, essence”. It means ‘to see nature.’
The acquisition of Kensho will strengthen S&P Global’s emerging technology capabilities, enhance its ability to deliver essential, actionable insights that will transform the user experience for its clients, and accelerate efforts to improve efficiency and effectiveness of its core internal operations. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close late in the first quarter of this year or early second quarter.
Since inception, Kensho has won numerous awards. The World Economic Forum names Kensho a Technology Pioneer — one of the most innovative private technology companies in the world. Kensho will continue to operate independently in Cambridge, Massachusetts and remain a distinct brand. “We are thrilled that Kensho will become part of S&P Global as its new class of analytical tools will help us accelerate transformation across our entire company,” says Douglas Peterson, S&P Global President and CEO. “In just a short amount of time, Kensho’s intuitive platforms, sophisticated algorithms, and machine learning capabilities have established a wide following throughout Wall Street and the technology world. Via this acquisition, S&P Global is demonstrating a strong commitment to not just participating in the fintech evolution, but leading it.”
“The additional resources of S&P Global, one of the world’s cornerstone data companies, will accelerate Kensho’s research and development of advanced artificial intelligence technologies for both Wall Street and the National Security mission. Kensho has assembled one of the most elite artificial intelligence teams in the world, drawing from the scientific community’s leading global research universities,” says Dr. Daniel Nadler, Founder and CEO of Kensho. “Combining our unique and industry-leading expertise in machine learning with S&P Global’s deep data sets, global-scale analytics platforms, essential benchmarks, illustrious reputation, and strong leadership team will allow Kensho to expand and innovate faster, further and in new ways. Lastly, this deal values Kensho at a premium to its most recent funding round.”
“Today’s announcement is an important step forward for our Company as we strongly believe that new technologies like artificial intelligence and natural language processing will revolutionize our industry in the future,” says Ewout Steenbergen, Chief Financial Officer at S&P Global. “Kensho’s capabilities are critical for S&P Global to be at the forefront of the technology transformation taking place within the financial markets and it will accelerate multiple commercial and efficiency opportunities. S&P Global’s strategy is focused on strengthening our technology capabilities across the enterprise.”
In 2017, S&P Global launched a Fintech Venture Investment program and successfully invested in several fintech companies including Algomi – a London-based fintech company, Ursa Space Systems – an alternative data technology company, and Kensho. In February of this year, S&P Global announced its intention to acquire Panjiva, a fintech company that leverages unique technology capabilities to drive insight from a large, unstructured dataset covering the global supply chain.