UK Insurtech Company Premfina Raises $36m To Make Insurance More Accessible, In An Oversubscribed Round Led By Rakuten Capital And Draper Esprit

  • UK insurance premium financing and software company PremFina raises $36M in equity and debt
  • The funds will strengthen PremFina’s expansion into new global markets and meet high demand in the UK
  • PremFina is fully regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

London, UK: PremFina Ltd, a UK-based company that increases access to insurance by providing financing options for the purchase of insurance premiums, today announced US$36 million in equity funding and a debt facility. Rakuten Capital, the investment arm of Japan’s Rakuten, a global leader in e-commerce and fintech services and the main global partner of FC Barcelona and the UK’s Draper Esprit Plc led the financing, and were joined by global investors Thomvest Ventures, Emery Capital, Rubicon Venture Capital, Talis Capital and the company’s founder.
 
PremFina is the first premium finance company in the UK to receive venture funding, with the equity portion of round more than three times oversubscribed. The investment will be used to accelerate PremFina’s UK operations to meet a high demand for its white-label premium financing solution among insurance brokers and support international expansion. Its white label offering improves brokers’ efficiency, profitability and customer relationships.
 
PremFina makes the purchase of insurance more affordable by eliminating the financial strain of lump-sum upfront payments, thereby promoting financial inclusion within the insurance industry. Its solution is simple and user-friendly: PremFina funds the upfront payment of an insurance premium to an insurer, on behalf on an insured party. PremFina then collects the same amount via monthly instalments, along with a finance fee, from the insured party. To better enable insurance brokers to offer this option, PremFina also provides a standalone, white-labelled software-as-a-service (SaaS).
 
“The participation of outstanding investors from Toronto to Tokyo in our oversubscribed round highlights the vast opportunity ahead for PremFina, ” said Bundeep Singh Rangar, CEO and founder of PremFina, who invested in 17% of the equity portion alongside the institutional investors. “Our new investors bring great strategic value and priceless global financial relationships.”
 
“Premium financing is an industry that’s been crying out for innovation. The incumbents have remained largely unchallenged due to age-old barriers to entry, such as the lack of funding for insurance start-ups, costs and time of regulatory compliance and significant investment in technological capability needed to meaningfully enter the market. Consequently, insurtech has lagged behind other areas of fintech in terms of innovation. PremFina has overcome these barriers and is now poised for growth,” Rangar added.
 
“Rakuten sees outstanding growth potential in PremFina’s business model of promoting insurance inclusion and providing access to affordable insurance,” said Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel, Managing Partner at Rakuten Capital. “We are excited to support the growth of PremFina’s innovative business in the UK and internationally.”
 
“PremFina has built a strong SaaS revenue model with excellent growth opportunities,“ said Simon Cook, CEO of Draper Esprit. “With its innovative offering increasing efficiency in the insurance industry model, PremFina ticks all the insurtech boxes. We are excited to help them dominate the market in the next few years.”
 
The equity round was led by Rakuten Capital, the investment arm of Rakuten, Inc., a global innovation company and Japan's leader in e-commerce and fintech services that has invested in ride-sharing companies Lyft, Cabify and Careem as well as app-based micro-investor Acorns and online lending companies Upstart and Kreditech.
 
The round was co-led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Draper’s UK affiliate Draper Esprit. California-based Draper was an early investor in telecoms company Skype, electric carmaker Tesla, rocket company SpaceX, Chinese search engine Baidu and email provider Hotmail.
 
Thomvest Ventures, an early investor in peer-to-peer lender LendingClub, small business lender Kabbage, and student finance provider Social Finance, Inc., joined PremFina’s equity round.  Thomvest augmented its PremFina investment with a credit facility to fund PremFina premium finance agreements.
 
Worldwide insurance penetration, measured as the percentage of gross written premiums against a country’s GDP, dropped 1.3% to 6.2% from 7.5% in the decade to 2015, according to London-based professional services firm EY. This drop occurred even as governments in many countries announced financial inclusion to be a key national policy objective. PremFina aims to reverse this trend by making personal and commercial insurance more affordable worldwide.

 
For further information please contact:
 
Karolina Komarnicka
Marketing Associate
+44 (0) 207 745 6216
Karolina.Komarnicka@PremFina.com
 
Ben Goldsmith
Goldsmith Communications Ltd
+44 (0)7788295321
ben@goldsmithcomms.com
 
About PremFina Limited
 
PremFina is a UK-based premium finance company. It supplies insurance brokers with their own branded premium financing service with a software package to manage the sale of broker-branded insurance policies to consumers and businesses, and the ability to finance insurance premiums via instalments. With PremFina, brokers receive higher profit, greater autonomy and opportunity to increase the lifetime value of their customers as well as the chance to cross-sell and up-sell additional products. For more information visit: www.premfina.com
 
About Rakuten Capital
 
Rakuten Capital is a corporate venture capital group that provides funding, sector experience and operational support to its portfolio companies across the world. Rakuten Capital is part of the Rakuten Group, one of the world’s leading internet service companies. Rakuten has built and invested in innovative internet businesses in e-commerce, financial services, digital content and advertising since 1997. Rakuten is ranked as one of “Top 30 Most Innovative Companies” by Forbes and operates in Asia, Europe and the Americas. The company is headquartered in Tokyo and is publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
For more information visit: https://captial.rakuten.com
 
About Draper Esprit Plc
 
Draper Esprit was founded in 2006, and is one of the largest and most active VC firms in Europe, helping entrepreneurs to build global ground-breaking technology companies. In 2016 it moved its primary funds into a listed PLC model (LSE: GROW.L) in order to take a longer term, multi-stage, patient capital approach. In recent years, Draper Esprit’s exits have generated more than $3 billion in combined enterprise value.
For more information visit: http://www.draperesprit.com/
 
About Thomvest Ventures
 
Thomvest Ventures is a venture capital firm committed to the success of our entrepreneur partners. Thomvest makes investments in companies that leverage disruptive technologies and business models to pursue high-growth opportunities in the security, fintech, and adtech markets. The capital we invest is our own, enabling us to be more creative, flexible, strategic and patient than most investors. It takes time to build great companies and Thomvest is committed to supporting its entrepreneurs throughout their journey. To learn more about Thomvest Ventures, please visit us at www.thomvest.com.
 
About Emery Capital
 
Emery Capital is a venture capital management company that invests in global-focused early stage technological startups. The company invests in the companies that transform industries, bringing new technologies, high-tech solutions, and business models.
For more information visit: emery.capital/
 
About Rubicon Venture Capital
 
Rubicon Venture Capital combines a VC fund with a unique global community of value added investors to build lasting technology companies. Their investors are mainly successful entrepreneurs and executives located in key cities around the world. They invest in Later Stage Seed and Series A & B venture capital financing rounds of high potential early stage disruptive technology companies.
For more information visit: rubicon.vc/
 
About Talis Capital Ltd
 
Talis Capital is a London based venture capital firm, focused on B2B technology companies within three key areas: Security, Business Intelligence/SaaS and Financial Services. Talis Capital has completed over $380m of transactions since 2009 and has a strong track record of investments. Talis has made over 30 venture investments and count some of the fastest growing tech start-ups in its portfolio – Darktrace, Onfido, Iwoca, - among many others.
For more information visit: https://www.taliscapital.com/

 

Portfolio Update - 29.09.2017

Onfido, a leading ID verification start-up, have raised a £22m Series C round co-led by Microsoft Ventures. After increasing their revenue fivefold during 2016, Onfido now cater to 1,500 clients and have been highlighted by CB Insights as a RegTech sector market leader.

Pass the Keys, the UK's largest AirBnB property manager, have held their second fundraising round led by Talis Capital and are now planning to expand internationally in 2018.

 

Reevoo have partnered with Atom Bank, a digital banking platform backed by the British Business Bank, to provide independent reviews on Atom's mortgage and fixed saver account products.

 

Onfido raises $30M more for its AI-based identity verification technology

Malicious hackers and security breaches that have exposed personal information of millions of people have pushed the issue of online security into the spotlight, not just for individuals but for organizations that do business with them. Now a company called Onfido, which has built a way to help websites verify people’s identities using a photo-based identity document, a selfie and artificial intelligence algorithms, has raised $30 million to seize the opportunity.

This brings the total raised by Onfido, which is based out of London, to around $60 million. This latest round was led by new investor Crane Venture Partners (whose co-founder Scott Sage had already been an advisor to Onfido), with participation also from Microsoft Ventures in its first European investment, Salesforce Ventures and other unnamed but existing backers (it’s a long list).

Hussayn - Onfido CEO.jpg

Husayn Kassai, Onfido’s CEO (pictured, above) who co-founded the company with Eamon Jubbawy (now COO) and Ruhul Amin (chief architect), said Onfido is not disclosing its valuation in this round.

Onfido started life back in 2012 focusing on background checks, tapping into the surge of on-demand businesses that were rapidly scaling both their permanent staff and workforce of contractors — indeed that was the company’s bread and butter business when we covered their previous funding found in April 2016. It competed against the likes of Checkr in the U.S.

(And, it should be pointed out, among its customers was Uber, which had used Onfido in the past to run criminal background checks on drivers. Criminal checks have become one of the sticking points for the transportation giant in its current license dispute with London’s transport authority. More on that below.)

In the past year or so, Onfido has been gradually shifting its focus more to financial services and e-commerce, and specifically identity checks for businesses in these verticals. It currently has some 1,500 customers today including Square, Revolut and Zipcar.

As Kassai describes it, the challenge for banks, payment platforms and others is that they have a strong requirement to verify the identities of people with whom they do business (in part because of “Know Your Customer” regulations, but also because of the immense amount of fraud that has arisen in the last few years).

But on the other hand, running long or onerous checks when onboarding users — such as those from banks that require people to come into branches in person to prove they are who they say they are, or lengthy online verification techniques — often leads to a drop-off in interest.

“If you are a bank signing up new users, you expect a 40 percent drop-off rate because of the checks,” said Kassai. “Our solutions are geared at bringing that number down, especially in cases where a user might not have the right documents like utility bills, for example if they are new to a country.” 

Onfido does this with an interesting solution that is based on standard identity documents — it recognises some 600 formats right now, from drivers’ licenses from dozens of countries, to passports, to identity cards and so on — and a “selfie” on your phone.

As it was demonstrated to me in their offices — in a conference room called “Abagnale” (each room is named after a famous identity forger) — this isn’t a photo as such, but in fact a live picture of you. You then respond to instructions for two or three different actions, such as a blink, a smile, saying a sequence of numbers or looking over your shoulder.

Onfido takes your responses to these commands to check that you’re not using a static photo, and to compare your face in the selfie to the picture on the ID card, while also running the ID card check at the same time. Its algorithms then provide a risk report for you, noting if you come up as completely compatible, mostly so, or to flag when it appears that you are not who the document says you are. All the data is then passed on to the company requesting the checks, both “compatible” checks and those that are flagged for further checks.

This last point is key in Onfido’s business model: as Kassai explained it to me, the company runs checks but doesn’t process any more beyond that, leaving the liability of acting or not acting on the results to the company requesting the checks. (In the current situation with Uber, I’m guessing that one route Uber may choose to take in its defense is to raise questions about how the data was accurate enough in its background checks.)

Onfido currently has a strong team of AI engineers on staff, specialists in machine learning and computer vision, who are regularly tinkering with the company’s algorithms to make them more sophisticated and of course to become smarter by way of all the images the platform is processing.

“From our point of view, in Europe, Onfido is one of the leading data enterprise companies at the moment, and they are spending a lot of money right now to continue investing into tech and product, with one of the best machine learning teams that we have come across,” said Sage at Crane, pointing out that his firm normally invests at seed stage but made an exception in this case because of the strength of the startup.

Kassai notes that they are continuing to recruit but also acknowledges that it’s a tough market, with its engineers getting “at least one call a week” from a recruiter. It’s a sticky point that’s even making it hard to figure out where the company should move to next.

Currently situated in an office above the Covent Garden Underground station, London Transport wants to kick them out soon to covert the space into residential property, and Kassai is mostly worried about finding a location where his staff won’t be as poachable, but at the same time continue being located in London. 

Looking ahead, Onfido will continue to tap into the opportunity for solving ID verification in financial services. He says the startup’s revenues have grown five-fold in the last year but that he believes that 95 percent of the market is largely untapped when it comes to using newer technologies like Onfido’s. The company’s core focus is the U.K., U.S. and India and it plans to expand into Latin America, too. “There is huge fintech growth coming from Brazil and Mexico,” he said.

Beyond that, there are a number of other areas where the company hopes to apply its technology, and it’s talking to all the big names you might guess to help make it happen.

“We think the future for us is in new applications and new use cases rather than new features,” he said. “Look at voting, for making payments with your face. The main barrier in these has been really accurate facial recognition, but it won’t be in the future.”

 

Original Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/27/onfido-raises-30m-more-for-its-ai-based-identity-verification-technology/amp/ 

Portfolio Update - 13.09.2017

A number of our portfolio companies recently appeared on the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100, a reputable league table ranking the top 100 fastest growing UK technology firms by their sales growth over the last three years. Please see below a quick snapshot of their impressive performance:

Darktrace Logo (latest).jpg

Darktrace, a market-leading cybersecurity firm which successfully defended against the WannaCry ransom attack, has been recognised as the 3rd fastest growing technology firm in the UK after achieving c. 268% annual sales growth over the last three years.
 
https://www.darktrace.com/

 

iwoca Logo (latest).JPG

Established in 2012, iwoca is a leading FinTech firm which provides flexible credit facilities to small businesses across Europe. With over 10k small business clients since inception, iwocacontinue to grow rapidly and have been named the UK’s 21st fastest growing technology firm with c. 129% annual sales growth over the last three years.
 
https://www.iwoca.co.uk/

 

Threads Logo (large).JPG

Threads Styling uses social media to connect buyers with the latest luxury clothes and fashion accessories. Following strong demand from the Middle East, Threads have been named the UK’s 32nd fastest growing technology firm with c. 102% annual sales growth over the last three years.
 
http://www.threadsstyling.com/

 

Onfido Logo (latest).JPG
Onfido Honourable Mention.jpg

Onfido, a start-up specialising in automated global background checks, has been identified as a potential future market leader and is anticipating to achieve c. 300% sales growth during 2017.
 
https://onfido.com/

Talis Capital Team Expansion

LONDON, September 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

Talis Capital is bolstering its London-based team during a major expansion period for the venture capital firm. With an impressive portfolio of industry-leading tech companies including Darktrace, Onfido and iwoca, as well as sought-after early stage companies such as Luminance, Price f(x) and Pirate Studios - Talis is capitalising on strong momentum and building out its UK team.

Thomas Williams promoted to Principal: Tom has eight years of investment experience and has an excellent investment track record. He has supported investments at Talis including iwoca, Utelly, C3, Reevoo, bd4travel, Senrio, Second Home, Pirate Studios and Onfido. Prior to Talis, Tom was an asset manager at Dart Capital and worked as an execution-only broker. He has a degree from the University of Leeds, a Masters in Wealth Management and is a CFA charterholder.

Matthew De Jesus promoted to Senior Associate: Matthew has four years of investment experience at Talis and is heavily involved in all of Talis' digital ventures. He has supported the Partners on investments including Darktrace, Onfido, PassTheKeys, ClickTale, Luminance, CensorNet, Narrativ, eporta, Pirate Studios and Price f(x). Matthew holds a BSc (Hons) Economics from The London School of Economics.

Rachel Muzyczka promoted to Associate: Rachel joined Talis in 2016, having previously worked for 3 years in European tech M&A on over $200m of transactions. At Talis, Rachel has supported the Partners on investments including Cyber Observer, Luminance, Andium and Akua. Rachel holds an MSc from LSE, a BA from Queen Mary & Paris-Sorbonne and is currently working towards the ACA.

Diogo Coelho joins as Vice President, responsible for business development and investor relations. Before Talis Capital, Diogo spent over 6-years at Capital Generation Partners in London, most recently leading on UHNW client development in London and Switzerland. While at Capital Generation Partners, Diogo was also a member of the PE & VC investments team advising on deals from less than $100k to more than $100m. Diogo is Portuguese, a Lisbon native, and holds a BSc in Civil Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico. He holds an MBA from London Business School and is a CFA charterholder.

Vasile Foca, Managing Partner and co-founder of Talis Capital commented: "The arrival of Diogo as VP and the promotions of key members of the investment team is an important step for Talis Capital as we plan to grow the number of investors and AUM of the company. This is a significant moment for Talis Capital in terms of our increasing scale and ambition and I am excited to see what we can achieve next."

Matus Maar, Managing Partner Ventures and co-founder of Talis Capital commented: "We have established ourselves as leading experts in certain B2B tech areas, while delivering superior returns to our investors - this has only been possible due to hard work and dedication from everyone on our 12-member team. The promotions are well deserved, and I am excited about expanding the team further and welcome Diogo".

The growth in the Talis Capital team follows the upwards trajectory of investments: in the last 12 months, Talis Capital has added 12 companies to its portfolio. Several exciting investments include:

Luminance: Market-Leading Artificial Intelligence Platform for the Legal Industry. Luminance has gained significant transaction in the legal industry since launching in 2016 - they are now live in 12 countries.

Cyber Observer: Israeli cyber-security management company that provides Chief Information Security Officers and security domain managers with the ability to monitor and analyse their companies' real-time security performance.

PassTheKeys: A fast-growing property tech start-up, leveraging technology to provide a unique service to Airbnb hosts and help them with hassle-free rentals.

Price f(x): Price management and CPQ SaaS solution that provides broad and flexible support to the entire price management closed loop cycle of Price Strategy, Controlling, Optimization, Setting and Realization

With a huge amount of European start-up activity in B2B technology - a core focus of Talis Capital - the firm's outlook is bullish on expanding and generating solid returns for investors.

Talis is now looking for a full-time candidate for its Graduate-Scheme Program, for more information please go to Talis Graduate-Scheme 2017/18

Talis Capital was founded in 2009 by Bob and Rohini Finch, Vasile Foca and Matus Maar. Bob and Rohini are vastly experienced in both commodity markets and private equity management while Vasile and Matus have years of VC, PE and entrepreneurial founder experience. Vasile has been active in building and investing in companies for over 19 years and Matus is both an experienced entrepreneur (co-founder of 2 VC backed companies) and has 10 years of investor experience. Talis applies its unique combination of a private equity and venture capital mindset to its investments and today has completed over $350 million of transactions

Source: http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/talis-capital-team-expansion-643701613.html

 

Talis Graduate Scheme 2017/18

Talis Capital is an early-stage VC that supports industry-changing and leading technology companies. Talis’ portfolio includes some of the most exciting European startups such as Darktrace, Onfido, iwoca and Pirate Studios - as well as sort-after early-stage companies including Luminance and price f/x.  The Talis team identifies and invests in both technology and tech-leveraged real businesses and has a unique perspective from its hybrid approach to private equity & venture capital. Talis only supports sustainable business models with high calibre founding teams and has a sharp focus on a handful of B2B themes (including cyber security, financial services, and B2B BI & SaaS)

Every year we have a graduate-scheme place for an outstanding candidate to work alongside the investment team at Talis Capital. We have a structured 6-9-month program that will give you an all-round experience of VC investing.

We’re looking for a highly-motivated and talented individual, post degree, to join our technology investment team in London. You must have a passion for technology and startups and have a good balance of hard skills as well as creativity.

You will

  • Work directly with the investment team to research and evaluate potential investments
  • Build expertise in themes of interest within technology sectors (e.g. cyber security. fintech, proptech)
  • Be involved in the investment process (supporting the team with commercial due diligence)
  • Research markets and the startup landscapes and identify the key companies, and events in these sectors
  • Work with and help support portfolio companies

Qualifications

  • Graduated from a top tier university
  • Excellent academic record and strong analytical abilities
  • An ability to build and maintain good relationships with colleagues, partners and entrepreneurs

Apply for the job

If you're in­ter­ested to be con­sid­ered for the Graduate-Scheme Pro­gram, then please send your CV to info@taliscapital.com with a 300-word text on what recent vc investment interested you and why.

Pass the Keys active in 8 cities

Pass the Keys, a fast-growing property tech start-up, completed their second round of funding led by London-based VC, Talis Capital. The funding will support further platform improvements and expand the service offering to more cities in the UK and internationally. The company closed its seed round back in October 2016, also led by Talis Capital.

Founders, Alexander Lyakhotskiy and Zoe Vu, developed Pass the Keys in London Business School’s incubator program and focused on leveraging technology to provide a unique service to Airbnb hosts and help them with hassle-free rentals. Pass the Keys currently operates in eight cities across the UK – London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Brighton, Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, and Oxford – expanding at a pace of one new city a month and is the fastest growing Airbnb Management Company in the world and now covers more UK cities than any other provider.

CEO Alexander Lyakhotskiy commented: “Property is one of the biggest assets for any family and, through our technology solution, we give property owners the ability to maximise their investments hassle-free. Our key differentiators are our revenue management system, but also our focus on security via rigorous guest vetting and photo checks.”

Vasile Foca, co-founder and Managing Partner of Talis Capital, said: “It has been great to see Pass the Keys capitalise on what continues to be a growing sector in property tech. The company has already become the largest Airbnb property manager in the UK as it offers its services in 8 cities. The focus on strategy and automation of various processes, particularly the onboarding of clients, cleaners, and vendors, have allowed the Pass the Keys to become a leading multi-city, multi-platform property manager in the UK. We very much look forward to working with them in their growth to attain this traction internationally.”

Alexander Lyakhotskiy added: “ We are very confident about the future of the sharing economy in the UK and worldwide, and we are grateful for the continued support from Talis Capital. This new funding will allow us to improve our service further, as well as continue our ambitious growth plans. By the end of 2017, we aim to offer our service in all major cities in the UK and start our global expansion from 2018.”

 

Source: https://www.property118.com/airbnb-management-company-active-8-cities/ 

Narrativ helps publishers make more money when they drive sales

Narrativ founder and CEO Shirley Chen said there’s a big revenue opportunity that’s gone largely untapped by online publishers — namely, the links those publishers are already using to direct readers to buy the products mentioned in an article.

Sure, affiliate links are a common business model, where publishers get a cut of the business that they’re sending to retailers. There are even companies like Skimlinks and VigLink that automate this process.

But Narrativ is doing something a bit different. It turns these links into an advertising unit called a SmartLink, where different retailers can bid in real-time for each click.

The company has raised $3 million in funding from investors includingTalis Capital and New Enterprise Associates.

Chen previously worked at the intersection of commerce and media, serving as head of marketing at Moda Operandi, the e-commerce company backed by Condé Nast-owner Advance Publications and LVMH. She argued that SmartLinks are a more effective form of promotion than banner ads (which are intrusive and can be stripped out by ad blockers) and native advertising.

“Native advertising mimics real content,” Chen said. “Narrativ advertising is real content.”

In other words, the product doesn’t require writers and editors to do anything different — it automatically transforms the product links that they were going to include in their articles anyway into SmartLinks. Similarly, readers just click on the links that they want to, and the bidding and redirecting should happen imperceptibly.

Retailers, meanwhile, can run more sophisticated campaigns where they bid different amounts for different users who have different levels of exposure to the brand and product. (Chen contrasted that with the “last click” approach, where all the affiliate money goes to whoever drove the final click before purchase.) And since the bidding happens in at the moment of the click, they get to avoid “link rot” when a product link changes.

Although Narrativ is officially coming out of stealth today, Chen said the product has already been in testing with publishers like New York Magazine, which has seen the value of its content clicks increase by 250 percent, and with retailers like Dermstore, which saw its return on investment increase by 67 percent year-over-year.

In a statement, Dermstore Vice President of Marketing Richie Singh said that before Narrativ, the company wasn’t thinking about promoting itself through editorial content: “The technology just wasn’t there.”

“Our competitors were winning 92% of traffic from editorial links until Narrativ,” he added. “For the first time, we control when a product featured in content drives traffic to Dermstore.” (Here’s a bit more detail about how Dermstore is using Narrativ.)

Beyond plain vanilla links, Chen also said that Narrativ works with other units like product galleries. The key, she said, is that it can’t be intrusive to the reader experience.

 

Original Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/15/narrativ/

Portfolio Update - 11.08.2017

Narrativ, formerly BAMx, have launched out of stealth mode and won “Best Native/Content Advertising Platform” at the Digiday Signal Awards following their case study with Dermstore, America’s 2nd largest beauty e-commerce retailer, who saw their ROI increase 67% YoY and their revenue grow 685% after implementing Narrativ’s market leading technology.

https://narrativ.com/

Darktrace have signed $200m+ of contracts to date and recently appeared on Sky News to discuss the ongoing ransom of HBO’s sensitive data by criminal hackers.

https://www.darktrace.com/

Portfolio Update - 21.07.2017

iwoca have partnered with Intesa Sanpaolo, one of Italy’s largest banks with a recent market capitalisation of €48.0bn, to service their small business customers.

https://www.iwoca.co.uk/

Senrio have highlighted a critical and widespread flaw in physical security devices which left major institutions vulnerable to manipulation by remote hackers. 

http://senr.io/

 

Pirate Studios are participating in the Bristol Harbour Festival, an annual cultural event which attracts 250k+ visitors, and have secured an impressive line-up of musicians to showcase their world-class rehearsal studio technology.

https://www.piratestudios.co.uk/

 

Sources:

https://www.euromoney.com/article/b13vqcgbws3qqy/fintech-incumbents-and-disruptors-all-want-a-piece-of-iwoca

https://www.wired.com/story/devils-ivy-iot-vulnerability/

https://www.piratestudios.co.uk/piratestage-harbourfest/

Portfolio Update - 11.07.2017

Darktrace have raised a $75m Series D round led by Insight Venture Partners and are now valued at $825m, a 100%+ uplift to their earlier Series C round which took place in July 2016.

https://www.darktrace.com/

Talis led the $3m seed round of Cyber Observer, a cybersecurity orchestration start-up which provides CISOs with a comprehensive overview of their enterprise’s cybersecurity health and the efficiency of their existing software providers.

https://www.cyber-observer.com/

Cybersecurity Startup Darktrace Worth $825 Million After New Funding

Darktrace, a hot cybersecurity startup that touts using artificial intelligence to identify and block digital attacks, was privately valued at $825 million after raising a new round of funding worth $75 million.

Darktrace uses machine learning technology and analyzes patterns of network traffic to track threats lurking on corporate networks. The company was founded by University of Cambridge mathematicians and British intelligence agency alumni.

The latest round is Darktrace's fourth, or "series D," and is led by Insight Venture Partners, a New York-based venture capital firm that has also invested in cybersecurity startups such as Cylance and Tenable Network Security. Existing backers that also participated in the round include Summit Partners, KKR, and TenEleven Ventures.

Darktrace has raised a total of $180.5 million to date.

Among Darktrace's investors is Invoke Capital, the U.K.-based venture capital fund created by tech veteran Mike Lynch, who sold the business software firm Autonomy to HP for $11 billion in 2011. HP later marked down the price of its acquisition by $8.8 billion, and Lynch and HP have been embroiled in heated legal battles ever since.

Although Darktrace would not disclose its revenues, the company said the value of its customer contracts has reached $200 million, increasing 140% between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. A big chunk of that growth is attributable to Darktrace's expansion within the United States where, the company says, sales tripled in the past year.

"We saw sales for autonomous response"—a feature that takes automatic action to slow or stop the spread of digital attacks—"take off since WannaCry and NotPetya," said Nicole Eagan, Darktrace cofounder and CEO, on a call with Fortunereferring to two destructive ransomware attacks that have recently infected business networks worldwide. The automatic response feature, which Eagan referenced and which Darktrace debuted earlier this year, is called "Antigena."

"Orders started coming in quite rapidly when those attacks happened," Eagan said.

Darktrace has 1,000 customers for its cybersecurity product, called Enterprise Immune System, with a quarter of them in financial services, about 15% in telecom and technology, and 12% in industrial systems. The rest are in sectors such as retail, travel, and government. Competitors include Vectra Networks, Palo Alto Networks' Light Cyber, and Deep Instinct as well as Hewlett Packard Enterprise's ArcSight and RSA's Security Analytics.

Darktrace is one among many cybersecurity startups now vying, alongside more established tech companies, to protect businesses from an onslaught of escalating computer threats. In order to succeed, the company must stay a step ahead of attackers and continue to gain adoption while displacing incumbents.

Cybercrime cost the global economy an estimated $450 billion in 2016, as Fortune noted in its July cover story on hacking.

Darktrace's headcount has doubled to 500 people in the past year. Eagan said she planned to put the new round of funding primarily toward hiring sales and marketing staff to continue the company's growth in the Americas and Asia.

Given the uptick in global cyber attacks—WannaCry and NotPetya among them—one can expect the threats to keep on coming.

 

Original Source:  http://fortune.com/2017/07/10/cyber-darktrace-fund-raise/ 

Cybersecurity Orchestration Start-up, CyberObserver, raises $3 million led by Talis Capital

Cybersecurity Orchestration Start-up, CyberObserver, raises $3 million led by Talis Capital

UK-based Talis Capital has led the $3 million funding round of CyberObserver, an Israeli based Cybersecurity management start-up. CyberObserver provides a breakthrough cybersecurity orchestration and awareness management suite that provides CISOs and security domain managers with an unprecedented comprehensive view of their enterprises’ cybersecurity health.

Driven by a powerful analytics engine that calculates on-line measurements, CyberObserver monitors in real-time and provides 3 layers of information:

  • Fool proof indicators of the types of cybersecurity tools that are misconfigured, malfunctioning, or lacking.
  • Security gaps that exist in each security domain, alongside recommendations for pro-active steps to be taken to close them.
  • Continuous analytics that provide alerts on deviation from normal behaviour.

“CyberObserver can be automatically deployed on a corporate network in a matter of a few hours, predefined with security domains and CSCs measurements to deliver real-time Cyber-Security health views” said Itzik Weinstein, CEO of CyberObserver. “Our customers already include some of the largest companies in Israel and the world - from commodity trading giants in the USA, to large energy companies in APAC - our technology delivers inestimable value to their cyber security teams.  The investment will help us expand our international sales efforts, and continue our product development”.

CyberObserver was founded in 2011 by Shimon Becker, Moti Ram and Oded Mass, a team of Israeli security software experts with extensive experience in the methodology, development and management of complex technological systems that combine information technology and people.

“The cyber-security market has an immense number of companies offering products and services to protect digital assets from unauthorised access and malicious use” said Vasile Foca, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Talis Capital. “The number of cyber products required to secure enterprises from inside and outside threats is ever growing which means the demand for management tools to centrally control, reduce risk and exposure, and prioritise threats is growing significantly – we see CyberObserver as being at the front of this market and are excited at the company’s trajectory”.

The global security management market is forecasted to reach $4.5bn by 2018, where the market will see analysts having traditional event and threat response capabilities replaced with machine-speed decision making and response. With the well-documented shortage of security analysts (Frost and Sullivan has forecast a shortfall of 1.5 million trained security experts by 2020), security teams must seek efficiencies through automation when they cannot find the talent they need.

The funding will help CyberObserver to meet growing international demand and expand R&D to increase product development.

About CyberObserver:

CyberObserver is a powerful, comprehensive and easy-to-use orchestration and awareness solution that enables Chief Security Officers, Chief Compliance Officers and IT executives to effectively secure their organizations against cyber-threats. Developed by cybersecurity experts, CyberObserver uses our patented core engine and Critical Security Controls (CSCs) measurements to present a clear picture of enterprise-wide cybersecurity eco-system status and preparedness at any given moment, alerting to breaches and threats as they arise and actions to be taken to secure critical infrastructures across the security eco-system.

https://www.cyber-observer.com/

About Talis Capital:

Talis Capital is a London based venture capital firm, focused on B2B technology companies within three key areas: Security, Business Intelligence/SaaS and Financial Services. Talis Capital has completed over $380m of transactions since 2009 and has a strong record of investments. Talis has made over 30 venture investments and count some of the fastest growing tech start-ups in its portfolio – Darktrace, Onfido, Iwoca, - among many others.

www.taliscapital.com

Portfolio Update - 29.06.2017

Darktrace Logo 2.jpg

Darktrace have been highlighted for their role in helping to protect the UK following the recent barrage of global cyber-attacks.

https://www.darktrace.com/

Second Home Logo.jpg

Second Home’s upcoming London Fields site, planned to launch in November, has been designed to provide a family-friendly environment for full-time working parents with on-site childcare facilities including a staffed crèche, and cultural programmes to encourage parent-child activities.   

https://secondhome.io/

Sources:

http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/meet-londons-new-cyber-security-hackbusting-squad-a3574021.html

https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/jun/27/rohan-silva-union-entrepreneurs-government-immigration-childcare

 

Portfolio Update - 22.06.2017

Darktrace Logo 2.jpg

Darktrace have been named as the sole cybersecurity firm in Wall Street Journal’s “Top 25 Companies To Watch” list for 2017. They also continue to expand into new verticals and have begun to provide cybersecurity M&A due diligence after signing with MACOM, a global semiconductor enterprise with a market capitalisation of c. $3.6bn.

https://www.darktrace.com/

Luminance’s market-leading technology has been recognised by CognitionX, a prestigious awards ceremony highlighting the most innovative firms utilising Artificial Intelligence with fellow award winners including Tesla and Google Deepmind.

https://www.luminance.com/

Portfolio Update - 15.06.2017

Onfido Logo.JPG

Onfido have been named as one of the world’s 30 most promising Technology Pioneers by the World Economic Forum, a prestigious achievement previously held by Google, AirBnB and Spotify.  As a Technology Pioneer, Onfido will benefit from several dedicated community events including the World Economic Forum’s upcoming annual New Champions conference, commonly nicknamed “Summer Davos”, which will take place later this month.

https://onfido.com/  

eporta have been selected to represent the UK on a trade mission to the US where they will meet with executives from Silicon Valley giants including Google, Apple and LinkedIn.

https://www.eporta.com/

Reevoo Logo JPEG.jpg

Portfolio Update - 07.06.2017

iwoca logo.png

iwoca has been named as one of Europe’s top 50 FinTech firms by reputable judges, including the UK PM’s FinTech Business Ambassador, after being selected from a list of 1,500 competitors.

https://www.iwoca.co.uk/

CensorNet, a SME cybersecurity firm, has successfully integrated Multi-Factor Authentication technology into its offering. Going ahead its clients will benefit from enhanced protection against the growing threat of network breaches, with 81% currently due to weak or stolen passwords, whilst gaining real-time visibility and control of their online applications. 

https://www.censornet.com/

Luminance logo.png

Luminance has partnered with Cederquist, a leading Swedish law firm, and is now live in 12 countries with 110 global client transactions to date since its launch in September 2016.

https://www.luminance.com/

 

Sources:

https://thefintech50.com/the-fintech-50-2017

http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/censornet-creates-unique-offering-with-mfa--uss-integration-626759231.html

http://www.businessweekly.co.uk/news/legal/%EF%BF%BCluminance-lights-cambridge-ip-summit

Portfolio Update - 19.05.2017

Darktrace Logo 2.jpg

Darktrace successfully fought off WannaCry’s global ransomware attack which is estimated to have infected over 200,000 systems worldwide.

https://www.darktrace.com/

Akua Logo.JPG

Talis co-led the $3m seed fundraising round of AKUA, an Internet-of-Things tracking solution for cargo owners with numerous global clients including the US Government.

http://akua-llc.com/

Portfolio Update - 12.05.2017

Darktrace are now approaching a Unicorn valuation after striking a partnership with Siemens to protect the vulnerable critical infrastructure of utilities and energy enterprises.  After recently winning four Stevie Awards including “Fastest Growing Tech Company”, they have now been nominated by the Evening Standard for “Tech Start-up of the Year” as well.

https://www.darktrace.com/

eporta, a B2B trade marketplace, has grown to provide over 1,000 high quality supplier brands under the impressive leadership of their CEO & Founder Aneeqa Khan who led Zoopla’s £1bn IPO at the age of 27.

https://www.eporta.com/

Luminance, a leading AI platform, has had explosive growth since its launch in September 2016 with 110 deployments and shows no signs of slowing down after partnering with Uría Menéndez, a major Iberian law firm.

https://www.luminance.com/

Onfido, a global ID verification start-up operating in 195 countries, continues to assert its dominance with 400% Year-on-Year growth since 2012 and 1,500 clients including Deliveroo, Uber, and Tesco. 

https://onfido.com/

Innovate Finance flies fintech delegation to Davos

Innovate Finance, the independent membership organisation representing UK’s global FinTech sector, is returning to Davos this week with a delegation of members to discuss this year’s theme of Responsive Leadership