Protection in a pandemic – startups transforming cybersecurity

1 May, 2020

Parts of the cybersecurity sector are experiencing a boom, despite the economic issues COVID-19 has created, as organisations seek to protect themselves from hackers wanting to capitalise on new or increased vulnerabilities. Olav Ostin, Managing Partner at TempoCap, looks at how successful businesses are changing the way enterprises protect themselves. 

 In the chaos and uncertainty of COVID-19, opportunity lurks for cybercriminals to exploit the situation. Ransomware attacks alone increased 148% between February and March 2020, according to VMware Carbon Black, a provider of endpoint protection, while the World Health Organization has reported a five-fold increase in attacks directed at its staff. Given the rapid rise and potential of cyber threats, and a new work-from-home environment to secure, it’s perhaps no surprise that business leaders are spending more time thinking about security. 

 Those companies that offer targeted, easy to deploy solutions that support the ‘new normal’ will not only weather this storm but grow despite the challenging conditions. Now more than ever, enterprises need help to identify new ways to fight the latest threats, eliminate bad actors, or uncover new ways to manage risk.

Onfido, CybelAngel, and EfficientIP are three such market-leading companies in our portfolio that are challenging the status quo and at the forefront of delivering a paradigm shift across the global security landscape. The fact that between them, they have collectively raised $147m over the last six months underlines how the market supports their vision, ambition, and ability to solve major challenges. 

Proving identity with Onfido

Onfido helps businesses verify online the identities of people accessing their products or services. Covering over 4,600 document types from 195 countries, the company’s software can scan a user’s photo IDs and detect whether it is genuine or fraudulent, down to a single pixel. The user can then take a selfie or short video, and Onfido’s analysis checks that their facial biometrics match those on the photo ID and that the person presenting it is live and the genuine owner.

The solution helps companies scale while minimising fraud and overheads – a vital service at a time when face-to-face verification is challenging, and contactless technology is being deployed rapidly. Onfido’s artificial intelligence technology, combined with human expertise, delivers speed, accuracy, and consistency to help secure the networks of customers like Deliveroo, Zipcar, and Square. 

Onfido recently raised $100 million, secured during the COVID-19 lockdowns. This significant fundraise underlines the fact that verifying individuals without requiring in-person, face-to-face interactions has become even more critical in the current environment, and the company has the potential to transform how major businesses verify and onboard users dramatically. 

The investment will be used not only to expand Onfido’s existing business but also to build upon its management’s ambition to create an alternative “identity verification” layer of the internet, replacing other established channels. In addition, Onfido is looking at new use cases such as virtual voting, passport, and visa applications, and even ways of contact tracing to track virus spread without impacting user privacy.

 We remain excited to be part of Onfido’s journey as it fundamentally changes the world of identity verification.

Detecting, pre-empting and eliminating risks and data leaks with CybelAngel

 The Coronavirus emergency has prompted cybersecurity risk management professionals to seek out practical solutions in a fast-moving national crisis, both on a micro-level and a macro level. 

As Gartner has noted, most organisations’ current approach to risk governance is not sufficient to tackle the complex risk environment they’re facing today. The pandemic is the latest in a line of events highlighting how organisations are not properly set up to manage risk, especially fast-moving ones.

CybelAngel, which detects if customers’ sensitive information leaks outside of their networks, recently raised $36m in Series B funding, with TempoCap as co-lead. An industry-leading combination of superior scanning technology and keen human analysis enables CybelAngel to monitor the entirety of the internet for business data leaks and digital threats. Its customers, including Danone, Air France, Air Liquide, Total, Pinsent Masons, Sanofi, and Louis Vuitton, can now identify where any leaks come from to promptly take down exposed information and immediately alert stakeholders to protect IP.

The World Economic Forum, in its Global Risks Report 2019, estimates data theft and cyberattacks could cost the global economy as much as $90 trillion if cybersecurity efforts do not keep pace with technological change. This represents a vast market opportunity for CybelAngel, as a proven market leader and the only data leak detection platform that continuously and comprehensively monitors every layer of the internet. Every day, for every customer, the company’s AI-powered platform analyses billions of data sources, thousands of files, and hundreds of potential threats to provide actionable intelligence and signal to identify and remediate potential data leaks. 

The company now employs 100 people across Paris and New York, serving around 70 multi-industry clients in nine countries and three continents. Demonstrating the demand for its offering, it has experienced more than 100% ARR year-on-year growth in the last three years and will use the latest investment to accelerate global expansion, strategic partnerships, and R&D efforts to continue to enhance its leading AI engine.

Protecting decentralised businesses with EfficientIP

With so many employers suddenly having to decentralise their workforces, and rapidly go from office-based to almost entirely remote organisations, the potential for damaging attacks on their IP infrastructure has dramatically increased. 

Enter EfficientIP, a network security and automation specialist with a focus on domain name system (DNS), dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP), and IP address management (IPAM), or DDI. With end-to-end visibility, consistency control, and advanced automation, it has seen significant interest in its ability to promote business continuity by making IP infrastructure foundations reliable, agile and secure – vital features for companies wrestling with the challenges of having decentralised workforces for the first time.

Efficient IP’s goal is to enable secure and dynamic IP communication between users and apps/services. To do this, it secures DNS services for users, apps, and data, while also delivering service continuity. To ensure its solutions keep abreast of the most sophisticated attacks, it uses artificial intelligence to improve behavioural threat detection, protection, and remediation. 

The company recently raised $11m in new funding to drive international expansion, deepen its service offerings, and expand its technology leadership in network security. Today, it has 125 employees based in Europe, the US, and Asia, serving more than 700 clients, and works with partners, including Cisco, VMware, and ServiceNow.  

Backing difference-making businesses

 Onfido, CybelAngel, and EfficientIP exhibit what TempoCap looks for in an investment: companies with differentiated technology and great managers, executing at pace, that we believe will make a difference to the world. 

The most exciting part is that, in spite of the global pandemic, for Onfido, CybelAngel, and EfficientIP, this is just the start of the journey.