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20. SparkCognition

Deciphering the data overload

Founder: Amir Husain (CEO)
Launched: 2013
Funding: $16 million
Valuation: $93 million
Disrupting: Cybersecurity, analytics, software
Rival: N/A

George Kavallines

SparkCognition is in the white-hot cybersecurity arena, a sector that is projected to grow to $170 billion by 2020. This Austin, Texas-based start-up uses artificial intelligence technology to deploy software for the oil and gas industry as well as utilities, and the manufacturing, defense and financial sectors. It claims its software helps customers — including Duke Energy, BP, Honeywell, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the London Stock Exchange Group — increase the safety, security and reliability of their operations.

Read More FULL LIST: 2017 DISRUPTOR 50

Founder and CEO Amir Husain, who's started and sold a series of tech companies over the years, says SparkCognition's technology is capable of harnessing real-time sensor data from machines in order to intervene and avert potential problems and failures before they happen. To do this, its A.I. platform (named DeepArmor) basically uses complex algorithms based on how the human brain works.

The company has managed to attract $16 million in funding from the Entrepreneurs' Fund, Verizon Ventures and CME Ventures since it started in 2013. It recently bolstered its executive bench with the addition of Bruce Porter as chief science officer. Porter is the chairman of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin.

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