IBM (NYSE: IBM) has invested in two services for online travel and shopping. The investments, WayBlazer and Sellpoints, provide travel search and discovery and e-commerce services, respectively.
WayBlazer uses cognitive computing to use data to develop travel recommendations for consumers. The business was founded by Travelocity founder Terry Jones.
IBM's WayBlazer investment comes at a time when travel companies are attracting a lot of dealmaker attention. Mergers & Acquisitions named a travel technology deal, Thoma Bravo's purchase of TravelClick, our M&A Mid-Market Deal of the Year for 2014. For more, see Thoma Bravo & Others Bet Big on the Cloud.
Sellpoints aims to make online shopping more natural, and sorts products based on consumer inquiries by relevance. Terms were not disclosed for either investment. E-commerce has also been a hot sector for dealmakers. For more, see Retail Reboot: Investors Snatch Up E-Commerce Services.
IBM's investment in WayBlazer was part of a $5 million funding round, and the Sellpoints investment was part of a $7.5 million funding round.
Both companies use Watson, an IBM-owned cognitive computer software program that takes in data and provides suggestions based on that information.
IBM's other recent acquisitions include Explorys, a health care data manager, and health management software company Phytel Inc.