Vectra, a company that helps enterprises detect cyberattacks by applying machine learning to their network traffic, announced today that it has raised $36 million in series D funding to fuel international expansion.
The startup’s software uses machine learning to detect anomalies in a customer’s network traffic metadata and other sources and provide security analysts with warnings if something seems amiss. Ultimately, the company aims to automate the detection of all cyberattacks targeting its customers so that they can defend themselves from adversaries targeting private datacenters and public cloud environments.
Enterprises are looking for all the help they can get when it comes to defending themselves from security threats, especially in an era filled with blockbuster hacks like those that struck Equifax, Sony, Home Depot, and other major companies. Vectra uses supervised machine learning to train its software on detecting known threats, as well as unsupervised machine learning to detect attacks that haven’t been extensively seen before.
Vectra currently has more than 400 enterprise customers, including big names like Riverbed and Tribune Media Group. Company cofounder and CEO Hitesh Sheth said in an interview with VentureBeat that 60 percent of Vectra’s customers choose to share their anonymized metadata with the company so that it can build up better profiles of security threats and protect its entire customer base.
Sheth said that Vectra’s software is the first source of truth for analyst teams that use it. All of the data stored in the system can then be exported into security information event management tools like Splunk and ArcSight for later forensic analysis.
“But if they are looking for a real-time answer on what’s going on, the first curated piece of intelligence will come from us,” Sheth said. “Because all the front-end work is automated, all the prioritization is automated, so separating signal from noise is something that we are very good at.”
Atlantic Bridge, a growth equity fund that helps companies scale their businesses internationally, led the round, which included participation from two other new investors: Nissho Electronics Corporation and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. Existing Vectra investors, including Khosla Ventures and Accel Partners, also contributed to the round.
Including this round, Vectra raised $123 million in funding to date. AI-powered security is a growing market and has drawn significant interest from investors. Rival Darktrace announced last year that it had raised a $75 million series D, with a post-money valuation of $825 million. (Vectra declined to disclose its valuation.)
Vectra will use the added cash to fuel its international expansion and hire additional AI experts. Right now, the company has 140 employees, with 10 percent of its workforce providing particular AI expertise. Its customer base is roughly 60 percent in the U.S., with the rest coming in from overseas.
Over the next two years, Sheth plans to add “a couple hundred” new hires, focused on research, development, and international growth.