FortressIQ Exits Stealth with $16 Million in Funding to Bring Cognitive Process Analysis to the Enterprise

Its Virtual Process Analyst combines Computer Vision + Natural Language + Sequence Modeling to accelerate digital transformation projects for the Global 2000, reducing current state assessments from months to weeks, lowering costs by up to 90%

  • Innovative AI platform automates the understanding of processes, amplifying an organization’s ability to leverage technologies such as Robotic Process Automation and Conversational Agents
  • Process comprehension surpasses existing technologies by connecting disjointed processes and uncovering business rules–without any integrations, log access or manual data mapping
  • SAN FRANCISCO, December 4, 2018 – FortressIQ, creator of a cognitive automation platform that powers and accelerates digital transformation through imitation learning, today announced it has raised $12 million in Series A financing from Lightspeed Venture Partners. This new capital extends $4 million in seed funding from Boldstart Ventures, Comcast Ventures and Eniac Ventures, bringing the total funds raised to date to $16 million.

    Founded in 2017, FortressIQ pioneered a fundamentally new way for Global 2000 companies to achieve their transformation goals. Recognizing that the largest obstacle to digital transformation is the lack of detailed information on current state of operations, FortressIQ spent 18 months working with corporate transformation teams building AI to solve their most pressing needs. This powerful platform addresses Peter Drucker’s age-old maxim that “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” by delivering the quantified workforce and providing the data today’s enterprise needs to optimize their transformation initiatives.

    “FortressIQ’s technology provides the insights necessary for a global organization to integrate the digital workforce into their operations,” said Nakul Mandan, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. “We think the company’s strong management team, with its data-driven approach, is uniquely positioned to alter the expensive, slow and inefficient methodologies that prevent businesses from fully realizing their digital transformation initiatives today.”

    Each year, billions of dollars and millions of hours are spent with process analysts interviewing users and generating documentation. The large diversity, age and customization of enterprise applications has made traditional technical solutions to this problem impossible, forcing organizations that want a detailed understanding of their complex operations down a laborious and often error-prone path that can take months for a single business function. As PwC puts it, we should “imagine a world in which automation tools watch how we work, then use artificial intelligence (AI)-driven insights to tell us how to work better (or upgrade our work efforts for us) on the fly.” FortressIQ delivers that vision.

    How the FortressIQ Cognitive Automation Platform Works

    At the heart of the platform is the FortressIQ Virtual Process Analyst, which structurally changes how companies acquire knowledge of their operations, learning the same way that humans do, through observation. The Virtual Process Analyst transparently learns a business process and all its permutations as they occur in real-time, then assesses, analyzes and provides valuable insights to guide operational change in days.

    Leveraging computer vision instead of user interviews, APIs or transaction logs, the Virtual Process Analyst requires zero integration and can work with any application, on premise or cloud based, instantly. FortressIQ provides a time to value in weeks, and meets all the needs of compliance, IT/Infosec and operations.

    “We’re thrilled to partner with a premier enterprise investor like Lightspeed, which has deep knowledge of the Global 2000 and their digital needs,” said Pankaj Chowdhry, founder and CEO of FortressIQ. “After speaking with hundreds of companies it became clear that the dollars being wasted on process assessments and documentation are a ‘tax on innovation,’ syphoning dollars from transformation initiatives. To address this grim reality, we’re delivering on the promise of cognitive automation with the GA release of our platform, putting us in a strong position to build on the sales momentum and traction we’re already experiencing with Fortune 500 companies.”

    FortressIQ will be at the Intelligent Automation Austin conference on December 4-5. Stop by booth 35 to learn more and see a demo of FortressIQ’s imitation learning technology in action.

    About FortressIQ

    FortressIQ is the creator of a cognitive automation platform that powers and accelerates digital transformation through imitation learning. Using an innovative type of AI that combines computer vision, natural language and sequence modeling, FortressIQ learns how a business functions through live activity analysis. By radically lowering the cost, effort and time required to document business processes, Global 2000 customers can use FortressIQ’s platform to quickly gain the insights necessary to improve business operations. The FortressIQ platform requires no integration or API access, works with all applications whether proprietary or commercial, and delivers a time to value in weeks.

    Founded in 2017, FortressIQ is backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Boldstart Ventures, Comcast Ventures and Eniac Ventures. To learn more please visit: https://fortressiq.chesh.link/

    Media Contact: Jill Reed Sift Communications jill.reed@siftpr.com

    Delivering Process Intelligence to Microsoft Power Automate Customers

    “We create technology so others can create more technology.”

    – Satya Nadella, Microsoft

    Announcing our $30 Million Series B to Continue the Mission of Decoding Work

    “We weren’t here to code the hosts, we were here to decode the guests…”

    — Bernard Lowe, Westworld S2E7

    And with that line, the audience learns the true purpose of the sprawling investment in Westworld, it’s not about building the best androids, it’s about understanding humanity.  Three years ago we set out on a similar mission, to build AI that can decode work. Today we’re excited to announce a new B round investment of 30 Million dollars with new investors, Microsoft’s M12 and Tiger Global, joining our existing investors Boldstart, Eniac, Comcast and Lightspeed, to help us deliver on that mission.

    Since day 1 we’ve held the belief that the key to the future of work was locked in our inability to understand its nature. Opening that lock would start us on a multi-year journey pushing the envelope on computer vision, natural language processing, and sequence modeling. Along the way we’ve assembled an incredible team that shares a similar dedication to understanding how to best integrate AI into the global workforce. We’re excited to add to that team, and welcome Tamara Steffens, from M12 to our Board of Directors. I’m sure her decades of experience working closely with enterprise customers will prove invaluable as we scale FortressIQ.

    First Contact

    Early last year customers got their first glimpse at what we were building, and we got to see firsthand how they could leverage the process insights that our platform could uncover. It was eye opening to say the least. Our first conversations usually revolved around automation and cost savings, but as customers became more comfortable with our data, the conversations evolved. This new category of data we could provide fueled their ability to innovate, enabling them (for the first time) to make truly data-driven decisions to guide their transformation strategies. Since then we’ve had the honor of working with some of the worlds largest companies, helping banks, retailers, insurers, and CPG companies to better understand their organizational DNA through interpreting their processes.  

    We were extremely surprised to find out how starved most organizations were for this type of data. While they had incredible analytics on digital journeys from their web properties, they had a much more rudimentary understanding of their internal processes. Another interesting byproduct we observed was how much simpler the decision making process was when good data was available. For me this was one of the most exciting revelations. I believe people in general want to do the right thing, it’s just sometimes very hard in the face of organization inertia. Often decisions devolve to simply appeasing whoever is yelling the loudest, the proverbial squeaky wheel getting the oil. It’s also well documented that unrepresented communities don’t advocate for themselves as forcefully in these types of situations. With data, we can minimize the impact of the loudest voice and amplify the focus on the best actions. This is a firsthand, tangible way in which we can leverage AI to reduce bias, reinforcing our mission here at FortressIQ around the responsible and ethical use of AI in the enterprise. 

    The Road Ahead

    With this new round of capital we’ll be doubling down on our efforts to build the system of record for work. Our experience over the last year as customers have leveraged our platform has guided us to deliver new ways for them to leverage process data to improve every aspect of the employee experience, which translates to a better customer experience, and eventually the bottom line. The largest area of focus for us will center around helping our customers to achieve results from our platform even faster. With that in mind, we’ll be building specific industry, application, and workflow accelerators that can deliver instant insights from process data. We’ll also be looking to expand our partnering platform, working with domain experts across the globe to deliver externally targeted solutions based on data that would be unattainable without a process intelligence platform like ours. 

    I’m excited to see how customers can leverage our platform to power their transformation journeys, and grateful for the support of my team and our investors as we endeavor to decode work.

    Now back to building!

    Guaranteeing Privacy in a Time of Unprecedented Uncertainty

    Three years ago, we founded FortressIQ with the idea that by leveraging computer vision, we could radically transform the way organizations understand their processes, thus accelerating their transformation. A little over a year later, we released our process intelligence platform, which has been deployed across Global 2000 companies in diverse industry segments. At the same time, the pace at which computer vision has been advancing is nothing short of breathtaking, but with great power (AI) comes greater responsibility. At FortressIQ, we believe that if we invest tens of thousands of hours in improving computer vision, we also have an ethical and moral responsibility to address use cases that can abuse those same advances. With that in mind, today we’re releasing Privacy Enhanced Gateway (PEG), the world’s first adaptive and learning computer vision-based firewall. And to stand unambiguous in the belief that privacy is a human right and that organizations who create technology that has the potential for abuse have an obligation to provide solutions to that abuse, we are making Privacy Enhanced Gateway a standard part of our platform at no additional cost.

    With the adoption of FortressIQ across major global enterprises collectively employing over 5 million people, there’s proof in the industry that computer vision-based process intelligence can deliver unprecedented levels of information, creating an entirely new category of data and insights. The need for process intelligence has only become more critical with current workforce upheaval caused by work from home orders, global supply chain disruptions, and ongoing uncertainty. Part of our mission is to expand the usage of process intelligence to improve outcomes across the enterprise and to mitigate external forces at play. But, to attain the level of ubiquity that we’re seeking, we can’t ignore the security and privacy concerns associated with large-scale deployment of computer vision-based applications.

    The scale of a challenge created by AI can only be solved with AI. This is why we took our expertise in computer vision (object detection, scene text detection, and recognition), natural language understanding, and data mining and created PEG, the world’s first learning and adaptive computer vision-based firewall.

    A core component of our Process Intelligence Platform is the software-based sensors that are deployed on an end user’s desktop or laptop. These sensors tap into the video card of the machine and create a low bandwidth video of all screen activity, which streams to our cloud, where we convert the unstructured video into a structured log file. While we are HIPPA, SOC II Type 2, and ISO 27001 compliant, the idea of streaming a user’s activity (with the associated data) to our cloud, proves to be challenging.

    Privacy Enhanced Gateway essentially takes some of the core AI from our platform and allows it to run at the edge under customer control. It is packaged as a virtual appliance that can be deployed on-premise or within a customer’s VPC on the cloud provider of their choice. Any sensors deployed then connect to their private gateway, which redacts all customer information from the video stream before sending the data onto us.

    The core of this technology is a joint AI model which has learned the individual types of objects which compose a software screen, and the meanings of their labels and values. We can determine every control, like a drop-down list box or radio button, the label for that control, along with the data within that control. We then can redact the data leaving only the empty software screen remaining, thus alleviating the challenge of protecting sensitive data.

    Using PEG, our customers get the best of both worlds. They can leverage the scale, cost savings, and rapid advancement of our cloud-based platform with the security and privacy of an on-premise deployment.

    PEG takes us one step closer to unlocking the limitless potential of the global workforce by accelerating the responsible and ethical use of AI in the enterprise. We look forward to partnering with our customers to provide an unprecedented level of insights while at the same time proactively protecting the security of their data and the privacy of their employees. We’ve shown how computer vision-based AI can co-exist with privacy, and we invite other process intelligence vendors to join us in delivering responsible AI-based solutions.