Why Microsoft Acquired Bonsai



Microsoft’s latest acquisition is in AI

It seems Microsoft (MSFT) has once again resumed its acquisition spree, and now the company’s focus is on the increasingly sought-after AI space. On June 20, Microsoft announced its acquisition of Bonsai.

Bonsai develops an AI-based software that enables the independent functioning of computers. Bonsai’s software makes use of reinforcement learning, which incorporates training systems to attain better outcomes through trial and error. After experts highlight crucial areas in the data, an AI model can be suitably trained, and it can be assimilated into corporate applications.

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The software can be used by manufacturing companies that can use data from industrial control systems to enable applications to adapt without human intervention. Mark Hammond, Bonsai’s CEO, said that companies in the oil, robotics, ventilation systems, and automobile industries have engaged Bonsai. In an engagement with Siemens, which also invested in it, Bonsai was able to mechanize a formerly manual process, making it 30 times faster.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bonsai’s profile and funding

Founded in 2014, Bonsai has raised $13.6 million to date in venture capital funding, according to Crunchbase. ABB Technology Ventures, Samsung (SSNLF), New Enterprise Associates, and Siemens have provided funding to Bonsai. M12, which is Microsoft’s corporate venture unit, has also invested in Bonsai.

M12 was built to nurture startups with long-term potential. M12’s investment in Bonsai and its subsequent acquisition by Microsoft indicates its commercial potential in the AI startup ecosystem.


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