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London Tech Week

FiveAI co-founder’s Cogna raises £3.76M for AI-powered SaaS to help industries

Picture credits: Cogna

Traditional industries are stagnating as their problems are too varied for ‘one-size-fits-all’ software to solve. London-based SaaS startup Cogna uses AI in real industries, such as manufacturing and civil engineering, to solve the hardest problems facing these sectors at a fraction of the cost and time it takes traditional software consultancies.

Growth plans 

In a recent development, Cogna has raised £3.76 million to transform how traditional industries solve unique, difficult problems. The round was led by Hoxton Ventures (backed Preply and Qflow) with participation from Notion Capital and Octopus First Cheque Fund, and a roster of angel investors, including Stan Boland (Founder, Icera); Hermann Hauser (of Amadeus Capital Partners); Professor Neil Lawrence (DeepMind Professor of Machine Learning, Cambridge); Zayd Enam and Tim Shi (Founders of Cresta); Ping Wu (CEO of Cresta); and Aviv Nevo, Nick Elliot (Helsing).

With this investment, Cogna plans to grow its team further throughout 2024 and beyond, hiring the best talent to work on the world’s most important problems.

In addition to the fundraise, Professor Andy Gordon joined Cogna as Chief Science Officer in October 2023. Gordon was previously running the Calc Intelligence Group at Microsoft Research and has been responsible for much of the innovation that has gone into Microsoft Excel. 

AI-driven SaaS platform

Cogna was founded in 2023 by Ben Peters and Lars Mennen. Peters was part of the team that founded FiveAI, the AI-powered self-driving car company that successfully exited to Bosch in 2022. 

The AI-driven SaaS platform simplifies the integration of data across different business areas and gives domain experts the ability to create their own customised software tools in collaboration with AI to drive analysis, optimisations and decisions that deliver vast improvements. This approach involves tackling some of the hardest problems in computer science, AI, and user interaction. Cogna is already working with clients including Cadent Gas.

Bryan Gartner, who recently joined the Hoxton Venture’s Partnership from Khosla Ventures in Silicon Valley, said, “All of us at Hoxton are thrilled to be a part of the Cogna story as significant advances in generative AI enable an attractive new paradigm for enterprise software. For the first time, large multinational businesses do not have to force-fit, tweak and customise their own processes and workflows to operate in an off-the-shelf ERP software world. Utilising Cogna’s software-factory approach to define problems and design solutions, these same companies can instead utilise highly customised and personalised apps that are tailor made for their own business’s day to day.”

Customer Steve Hunt, Director of Commercial at Cadent Gas, said, “Cogna’s approach has been both supportive and transformative within our commercial team, enabling us to effortlessly compare supplier bids and analyse vital commercial data quickly and with precision.  Working with Cogna to optimise our annual gas mains replacement program and related activities not only ensures optimal outcomes, but also supports both Cadent and also our supply chain partners in achieving a level of pricing transparency that is truly beneficial. This approach allows us to align perfectly with our commitment to driving efficiency and delivering the best possible value for our customers. We are delighted with our relationship with Cogna to date and look forward to continuing this collaboration, pushing the boundaries of innovation in our industry.”

Richard Sansom, East Midlands Network Director at Cadent Gas, said, “Cadent is dedicated to leading the gas industry in the UK and globally in managing gas escapes more effectively. Our focus is on ensuring safety, reliability, and efficiency for the ultimate benefit of our customers. Cogna’s rapid delivery of innovative software solutions, are proving to be key to this approach. Their technology will enable us to respond more quickly and effectively, marking a pivotal shift in our operations. We see this approach as the future of the industry, where speed, efficiency and performance for customers are paramount.”

Professor Andy Gordon, new Chief Science Officer at Cogna said, “I believe that Cogna is the future of software. We are creating a world where companies can run our AI platform to interpret exactly what software they need to be able to run their businesses more efficiently and cost effectively, in a manner that they can control and adjust according to the changing business landscape. This is a really exciting time for the company and could have far-reaching implications for the future of AI SaaS.”

Ben Peters, Co-founder and CEO of Cogna concludeds, “Our aim is to democratise this technology, making hyper-customised software accessible to businesses of all sizes. We’re focussed on the businesses that really matter, those that most of us are depending on in our daily lives. Our technology is paving the way towards a more grounded, user-centric approach to problem-solving and innovation – where the users themselves become the architects of their technological solutions and their own success.”

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