Cyber-threat intelligence company Sixgill this week announced the closing of a $15 million funding round.
Founded in 2014, the Israel-based company leverages automation to help Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, governments, and law enforcement agencies stay protected from cyber-threats lurking on the dark web.
The new funding, Sixgill says, will be invested in expanding its global operations and strengthening core products to support its growing portfolio.
Specifically, the company will use the funding to increase its presence in North America, EMEA and APAC by growing its customer base.
Furthermore, it plans on investing in improving its Automated, Actionable Intelligence (A2I) solution and Dynamic CVE Rating.
The funding round was led by Sonae IM and REV Venture Partners and also saw participation from Our Crowd and from previous investors Elron and Terra Venture Partners.
Sixgill told SecurityWeek that this was its first institutional round, but described it as more of a Series A1 round. The company said it previously raised $1 million in a pre-seed funding round and another $5 million in a seed round in 2016.
“Sixgill uses advanced automation and artificial intelligence technologies to provide accurate, contextual intelligence to customers. The market has made it clear that Sixgill has built a powerful real-time engine for more effective handling of the rapidly expanding threat landscape; this investment will position us for significant growth and expansion in 2020,” said Sharon Wagner, CEO of Sixgill.
Deep Instinct, a cybersecurity company that uses deep learning to predict, identify and prevent attacks, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $43 million in a Series C funding round.
The latest funding round, which brings the total raised by Deep Instinct to $100 million, was led by Millennium New Horizons, with participation from Unbound, LG, and NVIDIA. The company says it will use the money to accelerate sales and marketing, and expand business operations globally.
Deep Instinct provides endpoint, mobile, and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) protection solutions, as well as automatic threat analysis. Its solutions leverage a deep learning platform trained to identify previously unknown threats.
Its customers include Fortune 500 companies in the financial services, healthcare, aviation, technology and insurance sectors. Deep Instinct claims to have increased its customer base by 300 percent last year, and says its annual recurring revenue increased by 400 percent in 2019.
“There is no shortage of cybersecurity software providers, yet no company aside from Deep Instinct has figured out how to apply deep learning to automate malware analysis,” said Ray Cheng, partner at Millennium New Horizons. “What excites us most about Deep Instinct is its proven ability to use its proprietary neural network to effectively detect viruses and malware no other software can catch. That genuine protection in an age of escalating threats, without the need of exorbitantly expensive or complicated systems is a paradigm change.”
“Traditional cybersecurity is broken,” said Guy Caspi, co-founder and CEO of Deep Instinct. “Current solutions based on ‘assume breach’ are simply insufficient for the highly sophisticated attack landscape we all face. Deep Instinct takes an entirely new approach, preventing attacks before they are executed.”
Concentric Emerges from Stealth with AI Document Classification Product and $7.5 Million Seed Funding
Unstructured documents — especially those that have been given wrong or no sensitivity classification — are among the most difficult assets for any enterprise to track and secure. Problems come from staff inappropriately sharing and insecurely storing documents. Ensuing threats go beyond the compliance concern of leaking personal data, and include the danger of sensitive commercial data falling into the wrong hands.
San Jose-California based Concentric has emerged from stealth with the availability of a new deep learning solution called Semantic Intelligence. It uses language analysis to determine the sensitivity of individual documents to help solve and prevent this problem. At the same time, Concentric has raised $7.5 million seed funding from Clear Ventures, Engineering Capital, Homebrew and Core Ventures. Concentric was founded in 2018.
In a separate report (PDF) published January 29, 2020, Concentric provides the result of analyzing 26 million unstructured documents from companies in the technology, financial and healthcare sectors. It found that each company has just short of 10 million unstructured documents. Each employee owns almost 2,000 documents. Among these, each employee owns 253 business critical documents — and among these, 38 documents per employee are at risk. Over 627,000 source code files and over 1 million trading files were also found.
But Concentric did not simply find files that were at risk, it found files that were actually risked. Per employee, five business critical documents were erroneously shared with an external party. Twenty-one were improperly shared with other groups. Nine were erroneously shared with internal users. And three business critical documents were wrongly classified.
Manual classification of this volume of documents requires extensive staff training and is prone to error. Manual classification done in arrears is so costly and time-consuming that it is a project often delayed, sometimes indefinitely. Existing automated rule-based methods of searching documents for key words or phrases leads to large numbers of false positives, causing many documents to be over-classified and reducing the general availability of data to the company.
Concentric brings deep learning language analysis that can analyze context. It can tell the difference, for example, between a personal email quoting the dollar-value of a home, and the dollar-figure quoted in sales or M&A documents.
“Discovering and protecting unstructured data is a huge problem,” Concentric CEO and founder Karthik Krishnan told SecurityWeek. “The challenge is that this data is complex: contracts, NDAs, source code, design documents, and so on. Traditional methods of discovery have relied on using word patterns, but this lacks the context to be able to accurately classify the document. The result is that most companies don’t know where their high value assets are.”
Meanwhile, he continued, “deep learning has progressed to the point where it can both solve problems at scale and do it with a degree of precision. What we have built is a system that uses a deep learning language model to develop a semantic level of understanding of the context. We can look at both the words and how they are used within the broader context of a document to understand the meaning. This allows us, in a completely unsupervised manner, to build thematic groups, putting contracts, design documents, NDAs into their own groups.”
By then analyzing and comparing documents within their groups, he explained, the Semantic Intelligence product can understand “how the data has been identified or classified or shared across the business units to provide a risk-based view over that data. The idea is that business-critical data combined with how it has been shared, whether it has been shared with the right sets of people, provides a view into the risk. We could compare a design document with another design document and look for signs of risky sharing where a document might have been shared inappropriately. This is all autonomously derived without a single rule or regular expression or a policy function that needs to be defined up front. It’s all driven by the thematic groupings that we build using our deep learning models. The goal is to help companies discover and protect their unstructured data.”
Semantic Intelligence uncovers, categorizes and classifies the documents, and allows IT and security teams to monitor data security with timely information and risk visualizations that drill down into the at-risk documents. The solution also integrates with major third-party security and data stores to help customers leverage the security investments they already have in place.
“Businesses understand the importance of protecting their critical assets, and yet, despite their best efforts, an extreme amount of data is left unsecured, unidentified, misclassified and at risk,” said Krishnan. “Unstructured data is currently copious and dispersed, and it includes an alarming amount of business-critical information. It’s a target for cybercriminals and can be a pitfall for regulatory compliance, but securing it is incredibly difficult. It’s the data challenge of our digital generation that we’re laser-focused on solving.”
Immersive Labs, a company that provides an interactive and gamified cyber skills development platform, has raised $40 million in a series B funding round.
The funding round, which brings the total raised by the firm to $48 million, was led by Summit Partners, with participation from Goldman Sachs. Immersive Labs says it plans on using the money to further improve its platform and expand in North America.
The company was founded by a former employee of the UK’s GCHQ intelligence agency and it has offices in both Britain and the United States. Immersive Labs says its solutions are used by over 100 organizations worldwide, including government organizations in the UK, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of Montreal.
The company’s on-demand platform enables customers to continuously improve their cyber skills while making it easy for them to track progress. The solution can be used by both business users and security specialists to see how well they would handle a real-world threat or incident. It can be used to simulate a wide range of scenarios, from basics to malware analysis and threat hunting.
The Immersive Labs browser-based platform maps a customer’s capabilities to frameworks such as NIST NICE and MITRE ATT&CK, and helps them plan, report and predict risks. It can also be useful for discovering specific skill shortages.
“Gaps in cybersecurity knowledge meaningfully increase risk to an organization, creating vulnerability and presenting opportunity for attackers. The rapid, constantly evolving threat landscape has made traditional classroom training for cyber skills obsolete,” said James Hadley, CEO of Immersive Labs. “At a time when cyber skills are stretched across the board, the Immersive Labs platform enables companies to identify these weak points and rapidly skill people to address them.”
Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.
Guidehouse (formerly PwC’s US Public Sector business), a portfolio company of private equity firm Veritas Capital has acquired global management consulting firm Navigant Consulting, Inc. for approximately $1.1 billion. The newly combined entity will bring together each organization’s strong expertise in highly regulated industries across both the commercial and government sectors, with a focus on supporting client needs in the industries of Healthcare, Financial Services, Energy, National Security, and Aerospace & Defense.
Acquisition Benefits for Guidehouse
Formerly part of PwC, Guidehouse provides management, technology, and risk consulting to clients around the world through more than 1,600 professionals in over 20 locations. “The acquisition of Navigant is the next step in our journey to create the next generation global consultancy,” said Scott McIntyre, Chief Executive Officer of Guidehouse. “Navigant is an exceptionally strong management consulting and managed services firm with some of the best minds in Healthcare, Energy and Financial Services addressing the most complex commercial challenges their clients face. With complementary strengths in our focus areas, we will be strongly positioned to continue delivering innovative solutions to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing government and commercial clients, while building resilience into important missions and services. Bringing together best-in-class portfolios, highly-talented teams, and digital-first business models – we look forward to the merger and the journey to come.”
Financial Details of Acquisition
Under the terms of the agreement, Navigant shareholders will receive $28 in cash per share. The per-share purchase price represents a premium of 16% percent over the company’s closing stock price on August 1, 2019, the last trading day prior to today’s announcement, and 26% percent over the company’s 90-day volume-weighted average share price. The closing of this transaction, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of this year.
Expanded Growth Opportunities & Expertise in Both Commercial and Public Sector Consulting
“Following a review of strategic alternatives, including soliciting offers from a diverse group of potential strategic and financial partners, Navigant’s Board unanimously agreed that a sale to Guidehouse is in the best interest of Navigant shareholders, delivering immediate and certain value at an attractive premium. The combination of Navigant and Guidehouse will create a powerful, global consulting organization characterized by deep industry expertise and leading technical know-how. Our companies are aligned with similar cultures and strong core values. Through the integration of our two firms, our employees will enjoy expanded growth opportunities, and our combined clients will access a wider array of expertise, tools, and technologies to help them achieve their goals,” said Julie Howard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Navigant.
The combined company will be led by Scott McIntyre, Chief Executive Officer of Guidehouse, and practice team leaders from both companies.
West Des Moines, Iowa – With an estimated population of around 57,000, this West Des Moines, Iowa is the second largest city in its surrounding area, the tenth largest in all of Iowa and was ranked in Money magazine as number 94 in the list of “100 Best Cities to Live and Launch,” back in 2008.
Recently, UnityPoint Health of the very same West Des Moines, Iowa has caught the attention of many media outlets throughout the nation as a direct consequence of its recent announcement that they were preparing to institute a brand-new venture fund worth an approximate value of over 100 million U.S. dollars.
This highly ambitious declaration was made on 22 May 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana at a MedCity Invest Pop Health conference.
Prior to this bold statement, UnityPoint Health had been notoriously known for its chain of various different clinics, hospitals, in-home care, and other differing medical services that extended its way through the neighboring Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin area.
UnityPoint has been providing to a system of collegiate universities for nursing careers that include the likes of Allen College, Methodist College, St. Luke’s College, as well as Trinity College of Nursing and Health Sciences, all of which are based in Iowa, with the exception of the Methodist College being located in Illinois.
So, it comes as no surprise to see the organization leverage its loft revenue for such an innovative business deal that has the potential to create a dramatic impact in the medical field.
An Overview of the Medcity Invest Pop Health Conference:
During the Medcity Invest Pop Health Conference, news sources were able to take the time out to interview UnityPoint Health managing director Matthew Warrens.
During the discussion that ensued, Warrens made an emphasis on the screening process that his colleagues utilized to determine which startups they will work with, which was extremely thorough and extensive, to say the least.
According to Warren, there is a weekly meeting held at UnityPoint Health lead by a group of their most innovative individuals who are tasked with the heavy burden of deciding which companies they should invite to pitch their business proposals.
In addition to making this very specialized selection, the team also considers which members of their teams of experts should be present during the screening process.
While the vast majority of these individuals are mostly generalists in their respective fields, they often call on the council of the handful of experts within the organization when the occasion calls for a higher level of knowledge.
From there. Warren gave a detailed account of what a startup screening typically looks like.
Over the years, he has noticed a general pattern in which, in most cases, the startups that they interview generally always have an outstanding idea to pitch but are lacking in terms of believing that they have the capacity that they can scale the business up to size.
In addition, Warren says that on certain occasions, just the opposite is the case where the funding is there, but that the viable solution provided is not fully thorough, in which case he concluded that, “The magic moment is when they have both. It’s a ‘no’ much more often than a ‘yes’, but it’s rarely ‘never’”.
He wrapped up this summary by making it a point to illustrate that they scrutinized the screening process as closely as they would any of their technological products. He pointed out all the reasons for which UnityPoint Health doesn’t hire out companies based on a pilot contract. Warren concluded with the following statement that beautifully captures the main problem UnityPoint Health has in picking its potential partners.
“I’m always surprised how much time a startup spends describing what the problem is. We already know what the problems are, so tell me more about your innovative solution.”
The Innovative Venture Fund at a Glance:
In her article, Midwestern hospital network launches $100M venture fund, Erin Dietsche directly references the UnitedPoint Health website to provide a thorough review of what is being described as The Innovative Venture Fund. Accordingly, the founders behind the project are hoping to create easier collective solutions for the intended purpose of providing excellent personal care.
Under this overarching objective, UnityPoint Health is dedicated to supplying its clients with a more simple, efficient, and otherwise more personal experience, which they hope to achieve through a collaborative investment in an exchange between collaborators and ideas.
The Innovative Venture Fund plans on accomplishing this mighty feat by financing different startup organizations in their early stage developmental phases across a platform consisting of four primary areas which are that of healthcare services, digital health, therapeutic spaces, as well as supplying them with medical devices.
Partnered with the likes of Health Catalyst, Health Velocity, and Heritage Group as indicated by their vast portfolio, UnityPoint Health adheres to a strict set of guidelines or a kind of philosophy for investments. The guidelines are based on the principles of coupling clinicians, operations leaders, and leading entrepreneurs in the respective communities in order to discover the most effective means possible for test and scale solutions in order to reduce the overall cost of quality healthcare.
It is following this rigid philosophy that has allowed UnityPoint Health to grow their portfolio of companies they partner with exponentially, while simultaneously providing them with ample grounds to boast their ability to identify or access the type of healthcare that people not only need but want, which is of the utmost significance to their organization.
The Men Behind the Fund:
The men responsible for leading the team at this Iowa based hospital are none other than Matthew Warren the Managing Director himself, who it is worth mentioning has a long history of similar experiences as the Vice President of Innovation Partnerships at OSF Healthcare.
In addition to Warren, the team also consists of Kent Lehr who acts as the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at UnityPoint Health.
Lehr began his admirable career as an administration fellow at UnityPoint Health back in 2010 after a respectable collegiate run at Cornell University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, after which he then went on to obtain a master’s in both business and health administration. As the VP of Strategy and Business Development, Lehr is responsible for overseeing both the development and distribution of strategy, growth, innovation, and project management efforts.
As for Warren, he began his long career at Bradley University where he pursued their executive MBA program, after which, he went on to Southern Illinois University and obtained another prestigious degree in Healthcare Administration. With over twenty years of experience in the healthcare industry, Warren is passionately dedicated to a noble cause of transforming the healthcare industry into a kind of practical science committed to creating for a preventative culture for the intended purpose of improving individual’s quality of life.
Possible Implications of the Deal :
It is difficult to gauge exactly how much of an impact that his financial move will have in the medical field. However, it is safe to say that it will be large, which was a point that Dennis Depenbusch, director of BlueCross Blue Shield of Kansas’ New Ventures Initiative made as he concurred that, “[The fund] is huge for the impact that it will make on our citizens and rural America.” This statement was issued by Depenbusch right after the Medcity Invest Pop Health conference.
That being said, one might begin to assess the overall effect this fund will have when assessing a variety of factors such as that of how UnityPoint Health is already a leading titan in providing in-home care service across the nation as one of America’s most established integrated healthcare systems.
This move will only act to further develop a healthcare giant with a vast network of connections ranging from some 280 clinics, 30 plus hospitals, as well as differing in-home care services offered throughout nine regions, with an employment roster reaching over 30,000 employees.
What makes it most difficult to assess the potential that this financial move will have is that of the independent variable found in the services that it is willing to provide in the area of digital health specifically.
In recent years, the technologies associated with this field have skyrocketed out of proportion, especially in the last year or so, leaving experts wondering as to whether or not we are witnessing a bubble within this niche market.
While integrating digital technologies with healthcare, services, living, health and society, to augment the overall quality of healthcare and providing for a more precise and individualized medical experience is only one of the many concerns for the people at UnityPoint Health, it will be interesting to see how this story develops in the years to come, and what they make of this extraordinary move.