Venture

Anti-Phishing Startups Score $139M In Past Week Alone

Companies focusing on anti-phishing raised a decent amount of cash this week: all together IronScales, Vade Secure, and Valimail raised $139 million in venture capital funding.

Valimail, a San Francisco startup that checks whether or not the person sending you email is legitimate, just raised $45 million from Insight Partners. Its total funding is now at $84 million, and this fresh capital will be used to expand internationally, build products, and hire more engineers, Valimail’s CEO and co-founder, Alexander García-Tobar told me.

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IronScales, which uses artificial intelligence to detect spam and attacks, raised $15 million, and Vade Secure, a phishing and malware startup, raised $79 million.

“We don’t compete with either of those two companies,” clarified Valimail’s García-Tobar. “And we’re probably going to partner with one of them.”

The biggest difference between Valimail and a company like Ironscales or Vade, is that Valimail targets questionable emails by looking at the sender versus the content, García-Tobar said.

The focus on sender identity was inspired by how attackers are getting more eloquent in their emails. Since its known that startups look within emails for questionable content, hackers are starting to use more believable, less red flag-filled, vocabulary and phrasing, Garcia-Tobar believes.

Sender identity is the method by which “many modern phishing attacks happen,” he said.

“We’ll make sure an email from IBN doesn’t get through, but an email from IBM does,” he said.

That said, García-Tobar said he recommends a layered approach, working both on the “who” of an email and the “what.” To help manage content within potential scam emails, the company has partnerships with Symantec and Microsoft.

From what it says, the company is making a mark. Valimail told me it has doubled or tripled its revenue each year since launching in 2015, but did not disclose specifics. Meanwhile IronScales told VentureBeat that it experienced triple-digit growth and ten times revenue growth in the U.S.

Everyone wants a safer inbox, this last week just shows that investors and the market are willing to bet that startups can make it happen.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias