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AI data security startup Cyera confirms funding of US$300 million, valued at US$1.4B

Artificial intelligence remains the greatest threat in cybersecurity, but also its greatest hope. Today, a startup tackling opportunities and challenges announced a major funding round. Cyera built an AI-powered platform to help organizations understand the location and movement of all data across their networks, which is critical to taking the right steps to protect data, whether it’s defending against cyberattacks or preventing inadvertent leakage of data into large languages Model. According to TechCrunch, the company has raised US$300 million in Series C financing, valuing it at US$1.4 billion.

At a time when growth round funding continues to be a major challenge for tech companies, Cyera’s round is notable not only for its size, but also because it nearly triples the company’s valuation in less than a year. (It last raised money in June 2023, a $100 million Series B.) That speaks to the company’s appeal to users — it didn’t disclose specific numbers, but they include many large multinationals — — and its unique outlook on the market and how it’s solving that problem.

We and others covered this fundraiser while it was still ongoing. Today’s news confirms some of the details we uncovered, including the size of the funding and lead investor Coatue, a new backer of the startup. Other new investors include Spark Capital, Georgian and strategic backer AT&T Ventures.

AT&T is a name to watch here. In March this year, we revealed that the multinational airline had been forced to launch a massive account rollout following a data breach in 2019 that saw details of 7.6 million current account holders and more than 65 million former account holders leaked online Reset.Such events are typical reasons that drive companies to register Cyera, sometimes before a crisis occurs and sometimes to prevent other crisis.

“You have no idea how many times a month I get calls from chief information security officers (CISOs) asking politely for a period of time,” CEO Yotam Segev said in an interview. “They say, ‘I have something.’ ” “How fast I need you to scan my environment.” This happens every time. All we did was jump on it. We sent out a small team and asked them to find the data within the range. They sometimes don’t even know what data was compromised. ” (It’s worth noting that AT&T’s data breach occurred before Cyera was founded.)

In short, Cyera has built a platform that provides a comprehensive assessment of an organization’s data, where it is created, where it is stored, and where it is used.

This is no small task in itself, as most organizations today work in hybrid environments with a variety of applications and devices, cloud and on-premises servers, and the total amount of data is now measured in tens of zettabytes and growing exponentially Analysts predict growth to hundreds of zettabytes in the next few years. This spaghetti of connections and activity has turned into a nightmare when it comes to auditing data.

Cyera is part of the general category of “posture management,” which includes dozens of others, including big-name companies like CrowdStrike, Zscaler, Wiz, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, and more. Most of them agree on why you need good posture management: it’s important to know what you have and where it is in order to take care of it. An additional step for Cyera is that it is not only using artificial intelligence to handle this process, but is also looking at the next generation of enterprise applications and use cases and the challenges they will bring to data state management. In today’s world, the next generation is really only focused on one thing: artificial intelligence.

“If you think about it, AI security is the biggest gap for enterprises today,” Segev said. “They have no control over their data, and AI runs on data,” he said of how large language models are built and subsequently work. “But if you don’t even know what data you have, where it’s located, how much duplicate data there is, and what the source of the truth is compared to a copy from five years ago, then how are you supposed to actually leverage this technology? Take full advantage? When you think about the risks that AI poses to these companies, it’s all about the risk of losing their proprietary data.”

Segev and his co-founder Tamar Bar-Ilan, chief technology officer, both cut their teeth in the Israeli military, a training ground that puts engineers into real-life scenarios to test cutting-edge technology. What catches the eye of investors is that they add a strong entrepreneurial spirit (and some charisma and sales flair) to that experience.

“We will use this investment to continue to provide customers with the data security platform products they deserve,” Segev said. “And they don’t want to stitch 20 products together to make this program a reality. They want to buy from one supplier.”

Previous backers Sequoia Capital, Accel, Redpoint and Cyberstarts also participated, bringing the total funding New York-based, Israel-based Cyera has raised in just three years to $460 million.

Although Doug Leone is no longer an active partner at Sequoia Capital, he remains on the boards of some companies, Cyera being one of them.

“The co-founders here are as good as anyone I’ve ever worked with. They’re clear outliers,” he said in an interview. “They foresee that the increase in demand and the awareness of the need will hit us like an avalanche. Data is the crown jewel of any company. ”

“Customers’ response to Cyera as a platform reminds me of our early days at ServiceNow,” David Schneider, general partner at Coatue Management, said in a statement. “I believe Cyera will grow into a critical part of enterprise data security as this continues to grow. becomes crucial with the emergence of artificial intelligence.”

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