UPDATED 09:00 EDT / JULY 26 2023


AI and machine learning cybersecurity startup Protect AI raises $35M

Artificial intelligence and machine learning systems cybersecurity startup Protect AI Inc. today announced it has raised $35 million in new funding to scale up sales and marketing, go-to-market activities, research and development and customer success initiatives.

The company was founded in 2022 by former Amazon Web Services Inc. and Oracle Corp. employees, including Chief Executive Officer Ian Swanson, who was previously the worldwide leader for artificial intelligence and machine learning at AWS. It offers products designed to deliver safer AI applications by providing organizations the ability to see, know and manage their machine learning environments.

Protect AI argues that even the most advanced companies in the world don’t keep a detailed inventory of every asset and element used in their machine learning systems. The issue stems from the explosive growth in supply chain assets such as foundational models and external, third-party training data sets. In addition, traditional security tools lack visibility into machine learning systems and data workflows.

The company also claims that most organizations lack the skills and resources to detect the threats and vulnerabilities in the machine learning supply chain. The lack of skills and resources causes blindspots and creates unique AI security challenges that expose organizations to a raft of issues: regulatory non-compliance, personally identifiable information leakages, data manipulation, model poisoning, infrastructure protection and reputational risk.

Protect AI’s AI Radar platform provides visibility into the machine learning attack surface by creating an ML Bill of Materials that remediates security vulnerabilities and detects threats to prevent data and secrets leakages. Another product, NB Defense, addresses vulnerabilities in a core component used at the beginning of the machine learning supply chain: Jupyter Notebooks, which are open-source web applications that enable data scientists to create and share documents, including software code, equations and other resources.

“AI applications are being deployed at an extraordinary and unprecedented rate across all industries and business functions, with virtually no visibility and oversight into the assets being used in their ML systems,” Swanson said ahead of the announcement. “Protect AI provides new and innovative solutions, like AI Radar, that enable organizations to build, deploy and manage safer AI by monitoring, detecting and remediating security vulnerabilities and threats in real-time.”

Evolution Equity Partners LLP led the Series C round, with Salesforce Ventures LLC, Acrew Capital LP, Boldstart Ventures LLC, Knollwood Capital LLC and Pelion Ventures Partners LLC also participating. Including the new funding, Protect AI has raised $48.5 million to date.

Image: Protect AI

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