Armorblox has raised $30 million to protect against phishing attacks with AI

Armorblox, a cybersecurity startup using natural language understanding to protect enterprise communications, today announced that it raised $30 million in series B venture capital funding. The company plans to use the funds to scale operations as it grows the size of its global workforce.

Email messages and files have become top attack vectors for stealing data, particularly as the pandemic necessitates novel work-from-home arrangements. A recent Trend Micro survey found that 91% of cyberattacks begin with a “spear phishing” email, or a personalized and highly targeted email with malicious file attachments and links to malware. Problematically, KnowBe4 reports that 38% of employees who don’t undergo cyber awareness training fail phishing tests, and the pandemic appears to have worsened the onslaught.

San Francisco, California-based Armorblox, which was founded in 2017, taps AI to analyze sensitive information in emails and documents and protect against data-related attacks. The company’s natural language processing engine offers policy recommendations by learning over time what’s mission-critical for a given enterprise organization. Armorblox draws on thousands of signals to understand the context of communications and, in the event of a potential or attempted breach, automatically send alerts to the relevant people and teams.

Differentiation will be crucial if Armorblox hopes to stand out in the $5.3 billion cybersecurity market, which is expected to be worth $248.26 billion by 2023. The company isn’t naming too many customers just yet, but the City of San Jose and Samsung’s Harman brand were early adopters of its platform. And as of today, Armorblox says it’s protecting over 9,000 organizations and 450,000 mailboxes.

“Incumbent email security technology was not designed to protect against the targeted, socially engineered attacks plaguing organizations today,” CEO DJ Sampath, who cofounded Armorblox with Anand Raghavan, Arjun Sambamoorthy, and Chetan Anand, said in a press release. “Relying solely on threat feeds, metadata, and other one-shot detection techniques will never be enough to stop emails specifically crafted to attack organizations and compromise their business workflows. This funding enables us to continue refining and scaling our approach to context-aware threat detection to protect the most attacked and most vulnerable security layer — the human layer.”

Next47 led this latest funding round in Armorblox, which had participation from Polaris Partners and Unusual Ventures as well as General Catalyst and other early investors. Previous backers include Microsoft chairman John Thompson, former U.S. chief data scientist DJ Patil, and Google vice president of security engineering Gerhard Eschelbeck.

The round brings Sunnyvale, California-based Armorblox’s total raised to date to $46.5 million, following a $16.5 million series A last February.

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