GE Adds Two Startups to Industrial Internet Push

The acquisitions of Bit Stew Systems and Inc. will bolster GE Digital's software offerings for industrial customers.
Matthew HellerNovember 15, 2016
GE Adds Two Startups to Industrial Internet Push

General Electric has acquired two tech startups in the artificial intelligence space, adding capabilities to its Predix operating system for the Industrial Internet as it competes with IBM’s Watson.

The acquisitions, announced Tuesday, will bring Bit Stew Systems, which enables the “ingestion” of masses of data for industrial applications, and Inc., a developer of machine learning technology, into the fold of GE’s software business.

GE Digital has been building up Predix, a software platform aimed at helping GE’s industrial customers like utilities and airlines gather and analyze data to better manage their equipment and achieve greater efficiencies. Customer orders for GE software solutions are expected to grow more than 25% to more than $7 billion this year, according to the company.

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A day earlier, GE announced it would acquire ServiceMax, which makes apps for service functions like inventory management and workforce scheduling, for $915 million.

GE Digital CEO Bill Ruh said the acquisitions would provide companies with the “tools they need to embark on their own digital industrial transformations.”

“The Industrial Internet is profoundly transforming how we operate and our ability to deliver greater productivity for GE and for our customers,” he said in a news release. “Connected machines, coupled with deep machine learning, are more powerful than anything we have seen.”

Bit Stew, which was founded in 2009, applies machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities to automate data modeling, mapping and ingestion. It raised $17.2 million last year from investors including GE Ventures.

Machine learning allows computers to adapt to new data without new programming. The customers for’s technology include Pinterest, Twilio, and Thumbtack.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, GE is aiming to hit $15 billion in software sales by 2020, with roughly half of that revenue coming from sales of Predix applications to the electricity industry

“GE’s vision of a software-defined future strongly aligns with Bit Stew’s vision and capabilities and we are excited about the pivotal role our technology can play in driving the industrial ecosystem forward,” Bit Stew co-founder Kevin Collins said.