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Today, computer vision (CV) cybersecurity startup, Pixm, announced it had raised $4.3 million in seed funding. 

Pixm provides an AI-based browser extension designed to enable organizations to use CV technology, a type of AI that uses convolutional networks and machine learning models trained on millions of labeled images to identify phishing attacks in real-time. 

The extension works like this: When a user clicks on a link in their web browser, Pixm’s AI  uses object detection and spatial analysis to scan the page and determine whether it’s malicious or not. 

This means that technical decision makers have a solution they can use to mitigate phishing attacks that have traditionally sidestepped endpoint and email security-based products. 


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Winning the war on phishing 

The announcement comes as modern organizations have consistently failed to win the war against phishing threats, which routinely bypass traditional email, cloud, and endpoint security solutions.

Last year alone, 86% of organizations had at least one user nearly connect to a phishing site, and 53% of organizations reported phishing related breaches

One of the reasons why most organizations find it difficult to combat phishing threats is that traditional cybersecurity solutions are largely ineffective against them. Email security, anti-malware, and email protection platforms can do little to prevent employees from being tricked into handing opening malicious URLs or attachments.

“Phishing attacks are targeting organizations through new channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Slack and totally bypassing corporate email protection,” Chris Cleveland, founder and CEO of Pixm, told VentureBeat. 

“We know because Pixm’s solution has already stopped hundreds of such attacks at the last line of defense, including spear phishing which targets companies in the power grid, pharmaceutical, and aerospace industries.” These are attacks detected and stopped after all other solutions have failed. Pixm runs in the browser where all clicks lead regardless of the application, Cleveland said. 

The organization aims to address these challenges by using the funding to further develop its CV solution to better protect users at the endpoint level against next-generation phishing threats, whether in the form of business email compromise, social engineering, and spear phishing. 

The next generation of Anti-phishing tools 

Pixm’s growth coincides with accelerated growth in the spear phishing protection market as a whole. Researchers estimate this market sector will be worth $2.21 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 11% from 2022 to 2030 as more organizations invest in cybersecurity. 

Pixm isn’t alone in using AI to combat phishing threats.  One of the company’s competitors  ZeroFox, which recently went public at a $1.4 billion valuation, offers an AI-powered solution for identifying cross-platform phishing attempts, whether via links, sites, or posts. 

Pixm is also competing against security awareness training providers like KnowBe4, that provide training resources that help users to spot phishing attempts and avoid falling prey to scammers, and achieved an annual recurring revenue of $262.2 million in 2021. 

Pixm claims what sets it apart from other solutions is its “point of click” approach, proactively scanning links to catch threats whether they’re in an email inbox or social media account. 

The funding round was led by Ron Gula of Gula Tech Ventures with participation from FirstIn, AIM-13 – Crumpton Ventures Partnership, Chaac Ventures, and Precursor Ventures.

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