Let’s face it, email security is something a lot of people would rather think less about. When you’re not deluged with a daily onslaught of phishing attacks trying to steal your passwords, you’re also expected to dodge the simulated phishing emails sent by your own company all for the sake of checking a compliance box.
One security startup wants that to change. Tiffany Ricks founded HacWare in Dallas, Texas, in 2017 to help bring better cybersecurity awareness to small businesses without getting in the way of the day job.
“We’re trying to show them what they don’t know about cybersecurity and educate them on that so they can get back to work,” Ricks told TechCrunch, ahead of the company’s participation in TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield.
Ricks, a former Pentagon contractor, has her roots as an ethical hacker. As a penetration tester, or “red teamer,” she would test the limits of a company’s cybersecurity defenses by using a number of techniques, including social engineering attacks, which often involves tricking someone into turning over a password or access to a system.
“It was just very easy to get into organizations by social engineering employees,” said Ricks. But the existing offerings on the market, she said, weren’t up to the task of educating users at scale.
“And so we built the product in-house,” she said.
HacWare sits on a company’s email server and uses machine learning to categorize and analyze each message for risk — the same things you would look for in a phishing email, like suspicious links and attachments.
HacWare tries to identify the most at-risk users, like those working in finance and human resources, who are more vulnerable to business email compromise attacks that try to steal sensitive employee information. The system also uses automated simulated phishing attacks using the contents of what’s in a user’s inbox already to send personalized phishing emails to test the user.
Email remains the most popular way for attackers to use phishing and other social engineering attacks to try to steal sensitive information, according to Verizon’s annual data breach report. These attackers want your passwords or to try to trick you into sending sensitive documents, like employee tax and financial information.
But as the adage goes, humans are the weakest link in the security chain.
Stronger security features, like two-factor authentication, makes it far more difficult for hackers to break into accounts but it’s not a panacea. It was only in July that Twitter was hit by a devastating breach that saw hackers use social engineering techniques to trick employees into giving over access to an internal “admin” tool that the hackers abused to hijack high-profile accounts and spread a cryptocurrency scam.
HacWare’s approach to email security appears to be working. “We’ve seen a 60% reduction in reducing phishing responses,” she said. The automated phishing simulations also help to reduce IT workload, she said.
Ricks moved the bootstrapped HacWare to New York City after securing a place in Techstars’ accelerator program. HacWare is seeking to raise a $ 1 million seed round, said Ricks. For now, the company is “laser focused” on email security, but the company has growth in its sights.
“I see us expanding into just trying to understand human behavior and trying to figure out how we can mitigate that risk,” she said.
“We believe that cyber security is an integrated approach,” said Ricks. “But first we definitely need to start with the root cause, and the root cause is we need to really get our people the tools they need to empower them to make sound cybersecurity decisions,” she said.
So few weeks ago I posted that I wanted help regarding my idea and how do I approach investors, so you guys suggested me to talk to and create connections that could help.
I am still in the "idea phase" of my startup and I've been talking to people and seeing their response on how they feel about the product, so I happened to text a potential small investor and a startup mentor ( connected to him through linkedin ) yesterday, he told me a lot of things and the way he could help me, we were on a call for half an hour, he was getting to know the product and how he can help.
He told me that he could bring a lot of technical, non-technical people, he could get help from various industries and he has other connections as well.
After all this, at the end he tells me I can't help you in the running but I can bring a lot of inputs and contacts and hence I can become a founding member of the team.
I don't understand what should I do now? I have multiple such calls lined up, so should I talk to them? And when he says he wants to become a founding member, I suppose he'll be asking for equity?
I don't know what to do, he has asked me to give him a report by weekend on how we plan to advance further and etc.
While there is an increase in video consumption and screen time, London-based startup Curio focuses on audio. As we are constantly distracted by smartphone and computer screens, this startup has come up with an experience that lets people get smarter, become more empathetic to those around them, and feel happier. And, this is possible with audio!
Secures €7.6M funding
Curio, the audio content platform that offers a curated library of expert journalism has secured $ 9M (nearly €7.6M) in Series A funding. This round was led by Earlybird, along with participation from Cherry Ventures, Draper Esprit, and Horizon Ventures. This investment follows the $ 2M (nearly €1.6M) investment that it previously raised from Cherry Ventures, 500 Startups and private angel investors – bringing the total amount raised to $ 11M to date.
The London-based startup plans to deploy this investment to strengthen its presence in the US and UK markets. It is also planning to expand to other English speaking parts of the world including India, Australia, and South Africa. The company has partnered with leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, The Washington Post and more.
Also, Curio will work closely with thought leaders to bring co-produced series and guest curation into the app. With the intention to offer personalisation, the startup wants to use more than 2 million monthly data points to improve AI-led personalisation.
“We want to help everyone become wiser, empathetic, and fulfilled. I believe learning about ideas and insights shaping our future, and stories that move us can do exactly that,” says Govind Balakrishnan, Curio co-founder and CEO. “I’d never have imagined when growing up in India and listening to the BBC on shortwave radio, that I’d one day work there, let alone found a startup that is building the future of screenless media and empowering publishers in the process” he adds.
Srikant Chakravarti, Curio co-founder and COO, says, “We have also developed a mix of curation and machine learning personalisation. With this combination, we believe that Curio can revolutionise how we all consume media and relate to it.”
Fabian Heilemann, a partner at Earlybird, will be joining Curio’s board. “Over the last five years, a boom of new technology brought exponential growth to the audio industry, impacting how media is consumed and produced. We, at Earlybird, share Curio’s vision of disrupting modern journalism through curated audio formats, and I am very excited to join the board. Being an early investor in the crowd-publishing platform Inkitt and a former consumer-tech entrepreneur myself, I am proud to support the exceptional team at Curio in scaling internationally” says Heilemann.
Founded in 2016 by Balakrishnan, an ex-BBC strategist, and Chakravarti, a former solicitor, Curio provides an opportunity for people to learn from current world events in real-time via audio stories from reliable publications.
While working with BBC, Balakrishnan noticed that exceptionally written pieces were getting lost into endless feeds of unorganised content. He realised that the world was not lacking compelling stories nor insights; it needed a more straightforward and engaging way for people to discover them. This instigated him to conceptualise Curio.
Talking about the challenges he faced while setting up Curio, he tells Silicon Canals, “ The main challenge has to be related to starting a business from scratch. There’s no one with an absolute answer to what’s right and wrong. So you need to keep on trying, iterating, dropping ideas that you once thought were great, and most importantly, keeping focus, staying curious, and asking questions. Most of all you have to be passionate about the problem you are solving as you end up spending an awfully long time on it!”
The Curio app is free to download and provides monthly and yearly subscriptions costing £5.99 and £44.99 respectively for those who want unlimited access to the content library and listen to unlimited stories. Notably, Curio was named the App of the Year by Google and also featured in the Apple Keynote launch event. In 2020, Curio has already been featured over 220 times on the App Store across the world.
Image credits: Curio
The post London-based Curio wants you to experience audio-based expert journalism; closes €7.6M Series A funding appeared first on Silicon Canals .
Mostly in the title. I've never sold IP before, and never done seller financing.
I'm selling my SaaS and the buyer agreed to the price, but wants to use seller financing, which I understand as them essentially paying me the full price over a period of time. In this case a year.
It's a reputable company with funding. But I'm already a little uneasy about their tactics in the sale so far, and I want some kind of insurance that they won't just take the code and stop paying.
Any suggestions on how to handle this?
One person suggested just selling them a license until the full sum is paid, then give them full rights. And if they fail to pay, then sue them for violating the license.
But that just seems like another type of promise that I'd have to enforce on my own cost in the courts.
Fronted, the new London-based startup aiming to make life easier for renters, including lending the cash needed for a deposit, has picked up seed investment from Passion Capital. The investment showed up in a recent regulatory filing for the company.
The exact cheque size isn’t yet disclosed, but what we do know is that Passion Capital partner Eileen Burbidge has joined Fronted’s board. That’s unsurprising, given that Fronted co-founder Simon Vans-Colina was an early and important employee of Monzo, the challenger bank that counts Passion Capital and Burbidge as original backers.
Confirming Passion Capital’s investment, Fronted co-founder and CEO Jamie Campbell gave TechCrunch the following statement:
“Like a lot of businesses we have been finding our feet in post-pandemic world, we are grateful to have supporting investors like Passion Capital who have supported us from the very beginning and who believe in our vision to help renters move.”
The company, founded late last year by Campbell, Vans-Colina and Anthony Mann — former employees at Bud, Monzo and Apple, respectively — is planning to launch later this year with a fintech product to help renters finance their rental deposits.
The nascent company is currently in the FCA “sandbox” program (run by the U.K. financial services regulator) to begin lending cash that can only be used for a rental deposit.
By using open banking and other financial technology, and offering a credit product designed to finance deposits directly, Fronted believes it can lend more cheaply than existing options — such as credit cards, pay-day lenders and overdrafts, or insurance-backed membership schemes — and at lower risk.
Late last year, Campbell and Vans-Colina explained that renters that apply to use the Fronted service will be asked to link their bank using open banking, therefore sharing their recent transaction data, and provide details of the property they wish to rent. Then, once Fronted has run the required checks and agreed to provide credit, the startup will send the money directly to the estate agent to be placed in the U.K.’s Deposit Protection Scheme, meaning that the loan never touches the renter’s hands (or wallet).
Renters will then pay back the loan over a set schedule, or they can pay it off entirely when they have the money to do so. There is also a planned “holiday mode” that will allow borrowers to temporarily reduce their monthly payments in order to help avoid falling into financial difficulty.
Fronted paused operations as the coronavirus pandemic took hold and at the height of uncertainty, but with the initial product built and money in the bank, a launch doesn’t look too far off.
“We are in the final stage [of regulatory approval] and once we are authorised we can launch,” adds Campbell.
Based out of Zurich, Bloom Diagnostics develop devices that help users to keep a track, maintain, and improve their health. Recently, the company launched it’s testing device – ‘Blood System’, post-closing funding of €10 million Series B round back this May.
Secure personal medical data
The company is on a mission to receive and secure personal medical data in a fast, affordable, and understandable way. The ‘Bloom System’ is designed specifically for patient use. The Bloom Test strips (pin-prick blood samples) are captured in a test strip and analysed in Bloom Lab. As per the company claims, it is maintenance-free by design and can be easily cleaned and updated when necessary.
Cloud solution developed over many years
The Bloom App explains the meaning of test results in a personalised, detailed report with actionable information. When a user performs a measurement, Bloom Analytics calibrates the raw measurement data on production-based calibration curves to deliver maximum accuracy. It then connects the results with self-reported symptoms to generate the medical analysis, which the Bloom App presents to the user, fully anonymously.
It’s worth mentioning that Bloom Analytics is Bloom Diagnostics’ custom cloud solution developed over many years in close co-operation between medical experts, biotech specialists, cryptography enthusiasts, and production professionals.
“There is a need for a tertiary layer of diagnostic devices between individuals and the traditional healthcare system. This layer has seen its inception with products like the first LFA-based pregnancy tests in the 1970s,” explains co-founder and Chief Product Officer Thomas Kupper. “We think it’s overdue that this layer develops into something much more elaborate, helping individuals gain insights into their health in a wide range of situations. Combining those insights, globally, anonymized and in real time, will generate improvements that benefit the public.”
Dr. Angelica Kohlmann and Thomas Kupper founded Bloom Diagnostics with its headquarters in Zurich in Switzerland and offices in Vienna and New York.
Main image credits: Bloom Diagnostics
The post Zurich-based medtech startup Bloom Diagnostics wants to make blood testing easier and affordable appeared first on Silicon Canals .