Nightfall (formerly Watchtower AI), a San Francisco-based provider of cloud data loss prevention solutions, today emerged from stealth with $20.3 million in funding led by Bain Capital Ventures and Venrock, with participation from Pear VC and Atlassian CTO Sri Viswanath. CEO Isaac Madan said the proceeds from this latest round will bolster Nightfall’s R&D and market expansion.
“Our mission at Nightfall is to build the control plane for cloud data, enabling enterprises to know what data they have across the cloud, and to proactively manage and protect that information,” said Madan, who was previously with Venrock’s investment division. He cofounded Nightfall with a platform and cybersecurity team hailing from Uber, Atlassian, Deliveroo, Palo Alto Networks, CrowdStrike, and Akamai.
Nightfall’s eponymous platform monitors data flowing into and out of the services a customer uses, which machine learning algorithms classify as sensitive, personally identifiable (PII), noncompliant (with regulations like HIPAA and GDPR), or safe to share. Using a visual dashboard, admins can set up automated workflows for quarantines, deletions, alerts, and more that integrate with dozens of software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms and APIs, and view analytics metrics like real-time and historical PII count by type.
Nightfall offers over 25 pretuned PII detectors out of the box, which can spot things like ages, credit card numbers, emails, ethnic groups, names, locations, phone numbers, bank routing numbers, passport numbers, IP addresses, cryptocurrency wallet addresses, and social security numbers. On the API side of the equation, Nightfall discovers new and existing endpoints and classifies their responses while tracking for changes. This enables it to suss out sensitive data in Slack chats, for instance, or identify compromising keys in GitHub repositories.
“When you have data scattered across numerous fragmented systems, not to mention people communicating in real time, it’s inevitable that sensitive information will get sprayed,” said Nightfall cofounder and CTO Rohan Sathe, a former Uber engineer who built the backend systems to handle petabytes of consumer data. “Nightfall acts as a continuous shield, providing administrators the option of manually taking action on the data, leveraging automated workflows to prevent data loss, or classifying data historically for compliance.”
Nightfall competes against well-funded startups including Netskope, Very Good Security, and Bitglass in the multibillion-dollar data loss prevention market. But it already counts among its customer base Periscope Data, Ellucian, and Clinc, as well as other Fortune 500 enterprises across segments like health care, insurance, and education.
“Isaac, Rohan, and the Nightfall team are addressing a deep and profound need in the world of information security, where I have spent nearly three decades of my career,” said Bain Capital Ventures partner Enrique Salem, who plans to join Nightfall’s board of directors. Salem has a distinguished history in software and cybersecurity, as the former CEO of Symantec, as well as serving as a board director at DocuSign and Atlassian. “With the proliferation of data across the cloud, high accuracy content inspection that is easy to operationalize is more important than ever. Nightfall has built a powerful and elegant solution to this problem. We are delighted to have been investors since the very beginning and to continue deepening our partnership with the team.”