Newark, New Jersey-based Duality Technologies, a provider of privacy-enhancing data science solutions, today announced that it’s raised $16 million in a series A round led by Intel Capital, with participation from Hearst Ventures and existing investor Team8. Duality previously raised $4 million in a November 2018 round, which together with this latest tranche brings its total raised to about $20 million.

Cofounder and CEO Alon Kaufman said that Duality will leverage the fresh funding to continue developing its secure computing platform and to expand into new segments. To this end, it recently collaborated with Intel to explore the challenges of AI workloads using encryption, which informed efforts like the open source HE-Transformer backend for Intel’s nGraph neural network compiler.

“AI and Machine Learning are transforming countless industries, but they have also created new privacy challenges that regulation alone can’t solve,” said Kaufman. “We are excited by the investment of Intel Capital, Hearst Ventures. and Team8 in Duality, and look forward to collaborating with these industry leaders in delivering innovative privacy-enhanced solutions to the market. Our mission is to reconcile data utility and privacy while unlocking a whole new world of secure collaborative business opportunities for our customers.”

Duality keeps a low profile but deals principally in homomorphic encryption, a form of cryptography that enables computation on plaintext (file contents) encrypted using an algorithm (also known as ciphertexts). It generates an encrypted result that when decrypted exactly matches the result of operations that would have been performed on unencrypted text.

Duality’s SecurePlus offering enables multiple parties to collaborate without exposing their data or analytics models. Data remains protected end-to-end even when analyzed in untrusted cloud environments, courtesy “quantum-resistant” technologies that conform to the standards laid out by the homomorphic encryption industry consortium.

Duality pitches the platform as a privacy-preserving solution for “numerous” enterprises, particularly those in regulated industries. Banks using SecurePlus can conduct privacy-enhanced financial crime investigations across institutions, the company says, while scientists can tap it to collaborate on research involving patient records. Even retailers stand to benefit with privacy-preserving data supply chain schemes enabled by homomorphic encryption.

“Intel Capital has been following the space closely, and we are excited to see secure computing and homomorphic encryption becoming practical and broadly applicable,” said Intel Capital vice president and senior managing director Anthony Lin. “We believe privacy-preservation in AI and ML represents a huge market need, and we’re investing in Duality because of its unique founding team and world-leading expertise in both advanced cryptography and data science.”

Hearst Ventures senior managing director Kenneth Bronfin added, “As a leading global, diversified media, information and services company with more than 360 businesses across industries, we are acutely aware of the increasing importance of data and data collaboration in companies across many market segments. Sensitive data is constantly being generated by both individuals and businesses; there needs to be technology available that protects such data while allowing us to extract insights.”

Duality was cofounded in 2016 by Kaufman, chairwoman Rina Shainski, Turing Award-winning professor Shafi Goldwasser, MIT professor Vinod Vaikuntanathan, and open source pioneer Dr. Kurt Rohloff. Vaikuntanathan is the co-inventor of the foundational BGV homomorphic encryption scheme, and Rohloff is the founder of the PALISADE homomorphic encryption open source library on which Duality’s platform is based.

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