Spring Forward: FinovateSpring 2016 Alums Top $200 Million in Funding

Spring Forward: FinovateSpring 2016 Alums Top $200 Million in Funding


With FinovateSpring 2017 coming next month, we thought we’d take a look back at how the alums from our last spring conference a year ago have fared on the fundraising front.

And after a quick review, it seems that investors continue to be interested in the innovations of Finovate alumni. In fact, even without the $1.8 billion Golden Gate Capital spent on its acquisition of Neustar late last year ($2.9 million with debt included), the alums from FinovateSpring 2016 have had an impressive year of fundraising. While the specific funding amounts for a number of alums were not officially disclosed, our review shows more than $200 million raised by 20 FinovateSpring 2016 alums over the past year alone.

Among the bigger deals of the past year, the $72 million raised by OurCrowd stands out. OurCrowd, a crowd investing platform for venture capital, was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Jerusalem, Israel. With a growing network of more than 17,000 investors, OurCrowd has raised $400 million on its platform, providing funding for 110 companies. Also noteworthy was the $29 million raised by FinDEVr/Finovate alum NYMBUS in two separate fundings in August and February. NYMBUS is an innovator in developing advanced, cloud-based core banking systems. Known as a “bank in a box” NYMBUS technology gives smaller banks and credit unions the ability to compete with larger FIs when it comes to providing customers with the latest digital banking services.

So to help get you ready for FinovateSpring 2017, here’s a list of the investments scored by alums from last year’s conference. And remember you can see live demos from all 20 of our fundraising FinovateSpring 2016 alums in our Video Archives.

February 2017

  • FinDEVr New York Alum NYMBUS Announces $16 Million in New Funding
  • Qumram’s Regtech Offering Lands $1.49 Million
  • Empyr Raises $3 Million in Funding

January 2017

  • ForwardLane Raises $1.1 Million in New Funding
  • Earnix Receives $13.5 Million in Growth Capital from New and Existing Investors

December 2016

  • Cyberfend Acquired by Akamai Technologies for Undisclosed Amount

November 2016

  • Sezzle Raises Seed Funding Ahead of Shopify Debut ($1.85 million)
  • Neustar Acquired by Golden Gate Capital for $1.8 Billion (including debt $2.9B)

October 2016

  • ThreatMetrix Picks Up $30 Million in Growth Capital from Silicon Valley Bank (debt financing)

September 2016

  • OurCrowd Pulls In $72 Million
  • WealthForge to Raise $2.5 Million in New Convertible Note Offering
  • OneVisage Earns Seed Funding in Round Led by Polytech Ecosystem Ventures (amount undisclosed)

August 2016

  • CUneXus Closes $5 Million Series A
  • Automobile Title Lending Platform Finova Financial Raises $52.5 Million
  • NYMBUS Raises $12 Million in Round Led by Vensure Enterprises

July 2016

  • Linqto Announces New Venture Funding from Keiretsu Capital (amount undisclosed)

June 2016

  • NICE Funding! CallVU Raises $3 Million
  • Civic Announces New Debt Financing from Blockchain Capital (amount undisclosed)
  • savedroid AG Completes €1 ($1.1 USD) Million Seed Round; Announces Beta Launch
  • Cyberfend Earns Undisclosed Non-Equity Assistance from MasterCard Start Path Global Program.
  • BanQu Secures $100,000 in Financing (convertible note)

Are you a FinovateSpring 2016 alums whose funding we missed? Send us an email research@finovate.com and we’ll be happy to make the update.

Akamai Acquires Cyberfend for Bot Detection

Akamai Acquires Cyberfend for Bot Detection


Web and mobile security company Akamai added to its expertise today after acquiring Cyberfend, a bot detection company. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Massachusetts-based Akamai, which went public on NASDAQ in 1999, aims to help banks and businesses protect their websites, mobile apps, and cloud environments. Akamai launched Bot Manager earlier this year to help thwart automated bots, which use stolen credentials to log into legitimate ecommerce and financial services websites.

Launched in 2014, California-based Cyberfend debuted BotFender, a cyber attack automation detection service, at FinovateSpring 2016. BotFender combines human cognitive science with machine learning algorithms to create a website security layer that is invisible to the end user and detects attacks in real time. Cyberfend is backed by Y-Combinator and protects 1 billion transactions every month.

Stuart Scholly, senior vice president and general manager of Web Security at Akamai, said, “The addition of Cyberfend’s technology is intended to give our customers a better way to spot and stop credential abuse on their sites—benefiting both the online business and its users.”

Cyberfend is Akamai’s third acquisition this year—after acquiring Concord Systems in September and Soha Systems in October—and its 16th acquisition since launching in 1998. As we reported earlier this year, Akamai is bolstering its security capabilities to become more appealing to potential, large acquirers, such as Google or Microsoft.

Akamai most recently presented at FinovateEurope 2015 in London where it debuted Client Reputation Service, designed to help FIs forecast security issues and protect against DDoS attacks, web attackers, screen scrapers, and scanning tools. The company is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Tom Leighton is CEO.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Akamai Acquires Cyberfend for Bot Detection”

Around the web

  • Fiserv Portico to power core account processing and enhanced functionality for commercial lending for Green Country Federal Credit Union.
  • Forbes names Backbase one of 10 European growth businesses to watch in 2017.
  • i-exceed recognized as Samsung’s 2016 Mobile B2B: ISV Partner of the Year.
  • TemenosMarketPlace receives the Banking Technology Readers’ Choice Award for “Best emerging/innovative technology product/service” at the Annual Banking Technology Awards.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Debuts: Cyberfend’s BotFender Detects Attacks in Real-Time

Finovate Debuts: Cyberfend’s BotFender Detects Attacks in Real-Time

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 1.01.53 PM

Cyberfend’s security solution detects account takeover, payment fraud, and stolen credentials. By blending human cognitive science with machine learning, the company’s fraud-detection system has nearly eliminated false positives or false negatives.

At FinovateSpring 2016, Cyberfend CEO Sreenath Kurupati demoed BotFender, software that offers real-time cyber-attack detection invisible to end users.

In his demo, Kurupati explains that hackers continuously evolve their patterns to circumvent new security implementations. Hackers even use machine learning to train bots to enter data in a human-like way to trick behavioral analytic security engines. So BotFender doesn’t block transactions by looking at the attack pattern, and instead applies algorithms and human-applied cognitive science methods that examine the integrity of the interaction to detect the usage of stolen usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers.

Company facts and figures:

  • Founded in 2014
  • Headquartered in Santa Clara, California
  • Protects nearly 1 billion transactions per month
  • Protects 200 million users across 50+ countries


After Cyberfend’s demo, we interviewed the company’s CEO and cofounder Sreenath Kurupati (pictured above) to learn more about Cyberfend.

Finovate: What problem does Cyberfend solve?

Kurupati: Every other week we hear of a massive security breach at a large website. Through these back-end breaches, hackers steal millions of user credentials (including usernames, email addresses, passwords, credit cards and other personal information). Hackers know that most users reuse their login, password and other credentials across multiple web sites and services. So, hackers then replay these stolen credentials across the web (on all other web properties) in sophisticated attacks on login and payment pages.

Cyberfend protects web properties (and mobile applications) from stolen credential usage and fraud. They do so by detecting sophisticated attacks in real-time to prevent monetary fraud, account take-over and malicious new account signups.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Kurupati: Every website and mobile application with a login or payment form (or any form) can use Cyberfend’s service—as they are vulnerable to credential-based attacks.

Cyberfend’s customers include leaders in multiple verticals such as ecommerce, file sharing and payments. Beyond these, we are also working closely with firms in banking, healthcare, cloud services, and education.

We currently protect more than a billion login and payment transactions every month, protecting more than 200 million user accounts, seeing traffic from 50+ countries. We are a fairly new startup (less than two years old) and this is indicative of the efficacy of our solution as well as the strong need in the market.

Finovate: What kind of metrics or facts about Cyberfend can we share with our readers?

Kurupati: Cyberfend provides a comprehensive bot/automation detection service. We do so with near zero false positives (this is unique and unprecedented in the security industry). In an industry lacking real metrics, Cyberfend makes a strong claim of near zero [for] both false negatives (hackers don’t get through) and false positives (good users never blocked).

Commercially today Cyberfend protects more than 200 million user accounts accessing services from 50+ countries. We see about 1 billion login and payment transactions using our services every month. One reason for the rapid growth in the use of Cyberfend is its efficacy in detecting sophisticated attacks.

GraphBot traffic is up to 3x that of human traffic

Publicly, we hear about some large attacks once every few weeks. However, it is relatively unknown that every consumer facing website is getting large numbers of bot attacks every day. The above chart is an example. You can see the green line indicating good human users on the site. It follows a specific circadian rhythm. The red line (bot attack traffic) within a day also shows a wide range of attacks—not a single continuous attack, but a continuous series of attacks. Also, it is interesting to note that bot traffic is sometime twice or thrice genuine user traffic. This is primarily the result of millions of stolen user credentials available in hands of fraudsters who also have sophisticated tools to launch such widespread attacks.

GlobeCyberfend’s dashboard

Cyberfend also provides customer dashboards for post-processing, management reports and also custom search analytics. These tools empower Cyberfend’s customers to make proactive decisions with their help.


When a bot-detection solution like Cyberfend’s BotFender is deployed (in PoC or production), customers first notice to their surprise the level of bot attacks hitting them. Once the customers start actively blocking bots, based on BotFender’s recommendation, the attack volume starts to reduce. Hackers first try to increase their sophistication or change their attack methods of scripting stolen credentials. Soon, they move away to other targets.

Finovate: How does Cyberfend solve the problem better?

Kurupati: The stolen credential abuse problem is a hard problem. The attack scripts used by hackers tend to be fairly sophisticated. Furthermore, solving the problem with zero false positives makes this really challenging.

Cyberfend is using a different approach: cognitive science coupled with advanced machine learning and novel signal-processing methods. (As a security service company, we cannot reveal our solution. You can reach us to learn more: info@cyberfend.com).

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your solution.

Kurupati: Our first large customer implementation was illuminating and something we remember very well. They are a sophisticated, large, cloud-service customer with a strong security and technical team.

The moment we got turned on, we immediately saw quite a bit of malicious login traffic. A lot of other security products don’t see action—they work more as insurance—and efficacy is not clear because attacks are rare. With web security, on the other hand, almost-constant attacks [are] happening, most of which go undetected. To see our product immediately catch these was very fulfilling.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Kurupati: The problems we are solving (login-password attacks, account takeover, stolen credit-card fraud) are unusual in an interesting way. There is no single way in which attackers hit a website, and furthermore, the attacks are constantly evolving. Tackling this problem requires expertise across multiple disciplines which is not typically found in many companies. Cyberfend’s team has this multifaceted background which has proven to be very helpful. The expertise includes security, machine learning, algorithms, CPU and machine architectures, networking, payments and computer vision.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from Cyberfend that we can look forward to over the next few months?

Kurupati: Cyberfend was in stealth until Finovate in San Jose (May 2016), but we were quietly working with some of the largest web companies on their web and mobile-security challenges. At Finovate, we demonstrated our core product, BotFender, a comprehensive bot/automation detection solution.

In the coming month, we hope to be present at various industry events—including conferences talking about our security approach and learnings—that can be applied widely to benefit the financial industry.

Finovate: Where do you see Cyberfend a year or two from now?

Kurupati: Cyberfend’s product is live and in full production deployment for nearly a year now.

In the near future, we hope to see widespread adoption of Cyberfend to protect login and payment transactions–both on web and mobile–across prominent financial services, ecommerce, and health care providers.


Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Envestnet | Yodlee Forges Strategic Partnership with United Capital
  • Finovate Debuts: Cyberfend’s BotFender Detects Attacks in Real-Time

Around the web

  • TransferWise partners with Raphaels Bank as part of Faster Payments Service integration.
  • Token opens new London office.
  • Trulioo earns top honors for ID verification in 2016 Global RegTech report.
  • Check Point Introduces First Real-Time Zero-Day Protection for Web Browsers
  • P2Binvestor Delivers Biggest Line of Credit Yet at $10 Million
  • CR2 teams up with Diamond Bank to bring next-generation ATM technology to Nigeria.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Cyberfend

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Cyberfend


FS2016-wdateA look at the companies demoing live to 1,500+ fintech professionals on May 10 & 11. Register today.

Cyberfend’s Bot Detection solution offers robust, real-time security for your web and mobile applications by defending against sophisticated attacks, fraudulent activity, stolen credential abuse and fake signups with near-zero false positives.

Why it’s great
Cyberfend’s bot detection is the most comprehensive bot/automation detection service available in the market today. We protect nearly a billion login and payment transactions every month.

Presenter: Sreenath Kurupati, Co-founder, CEO
Prior to founding Cyberfend, Sreenath Kurupati was the chief architect in Digital Home Group and the leader in computer vision technology at Intel. His education includes IIT-Kanpur and NCSU.