Apr 23, 2024 - Technology

Exclusive: Bain Capital Ventures backs new AI security startup in $11M seed round

Illustration of a robot made out of ASCII text on a laptop.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A cybersecurity startup offering an AI-powered platform to network defenders is emerging from stealth Tuesday with $11 million in seed funding, the company exclusively tells Axios.

Why it matters: As investors continue to pour money into AI security startups, these companies have become an exception to the narrative that cyber investments are drying up.

How it works: Founded in September, Prophet Security has trained a large-language model to synthesize alerts about potential cybersecurity threats for companies.

  • The tool scans various third-party security tools, digests the information into simple language and then investigates how at-risk the company is to that specific vulnerability.
  • High-risk summaries are then presented to security analysts in an effort to organize the sea of threat alerts they receive each day.
  • Prophet Security's AI can be added to different security vendors' products, and the tech will scan the information in those systems to inform its summaries.

Zoom in: Prophet is the second company to emerge from Bain Capital Ventures' AI incubator, which led the startup's seed fund round.

  • Prophet — which currently has nine employees — plans to invest the bulk of the $11 million round into continued research and development, CEO Kamal Shah told Axios.

What they're saying: "It's expensive to triage and investigate and respond to these alerts," Shah said. "The security operations team is constantly under pressure, they're constantly under the gun, because alerts are coming at a rapid pace."

The big picture: In the early days of generative AI, most cybersecurity innovations have focused on creating chatbots to help synthesize alerts and threat information for defenders.

Zoom out: While investments in cyber startups started to pick up in the first quarter of 2024, they remain relatively sluggish and difficult to obtain, according to a recent Crunchbase report.

  • Cyber startups raised $2.7 billion across 154 deals last quarter — marking the best cyber investment period in three quarters, but also a nearly 7% decrease from the same period in 2023.

What's next: Prophet is already working with a handful of companies across high-tech, financial services and health care sectors.

  • The company is also opening its early-access testing today to new customers as it emerges from stealth.

Editors note: The story and headline have been corrected to say Bain Capital Ventures (not Bain Capital) backed Prophet Security and to reflect that the startup offers an AI-powered platform (not a chatbot).

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