Data security company Enveil raised $10 million in a Series A investment round and is seeking to expand its team in 2020, said CEO Ellison Anne Williams.
The round comes as the Fulton-based company is seeing interest for its encryption capabilities among the financial services sector, and that’s reflected among the investors in the round: It was led by C5 Capital, a digital security-focused investment firm that counts an office in D.C. among its locations. Participants also include Mastercard, Capital One Ventures, Bloomberg Beta and 1843 Capital.
With core technology centered on a technique known as homomorphic encryption, Enveil’s technology is designed to allow data to be searched or analyzed without exposing the data itself, what’s being searched for or the results. This is unique, the company says, because data typically can’t be processed without being decrypted.
Banks and other financial services companies see opportunity for the Enveil’s product to aid in collaboration both within a bank and across banks, as they seek to find financial crime and fraud. Last year, it was bolstered in this use case by being named among the winners at the Financial Crime Authority Global Anti-Money Laundering TechSprint in London, and the Financial Crime TechSprint in D.C.
“It was all centered around, ‘How do you enable these banks to collaborate with each other, and then how do you enable large multinationals to collaborate across jurisdictions and demonstrate privacy?'” Williams said.
Wrapping up a great week at the UK #FCAsprint on AML and Financial Crime in London. We are thrilled to have won our KYC category and placed 2nd overall. Big thanks to @TheFCA for hosting the event & to all our teammates on Team Neighbourhood Watch. More to come! pic.twitter.com/TNoYLmP9Fx
— Enveil (@enveil_inc) August 2, 2019
It also comes as companies are paying closer attention to data privacy. Against a backdrop of increased security regulations, Williams said Enveil can allow companies to maintain compliance and maintain privacy, even as they go about normal business functions.
“There’s a growing awareness and demand for privacy, more so than we’ve ever seen before. So the market’s really shifting,” Williams said.
It’s leading to partnerships alongside the investment.
“In our ever-expanding digital world, exponential amounts of data are being produced, which can help companies innovate and provide better products and services to consumers. In doing so, companies have a responsibility to individuals, to one another, and to society as a whole to be good stewards of the data they manage and use for those consumers,” Jorn Lambert, executive VP of digital solutions at Mastercard, said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with Enveil to explore solutions that advance these standards to enable critical business functions.”
With the funding round, Enveil is planning expansion of the 25-member team. It is adding engineering talent as it plans new product lines, and growing a sales and marketing team that has its sights set on global markets. It won’t appear to be a hiring frenzy, but Williams said the company continues to seek out top talent.
“My philosophy is to build as much value as we can across verticals, running as lean as we possibly can,” she said.
The company’s trajectory to date offers a look at a path from inside the state’s federally backed cybersecurity institutions to a commercial market. Enveil’s technology was developed inside the Fort Meade-based National Security Agency, where Williams previously worked. After the company formed in 2016, it was among the earliest companies to gain support from Fulton-based DataTribe, which helps startups that form out of the federal labs, and gained attention quickly among the cybersecurity community at the RSA Conference’s vaunted Innovation Sandbox pitch event in 2017. To date, the company has raised over $15 million.
Along with developing the product for new uses, Williams pointed out that the company has also been building the market for the solution itself — one that it calls “securing data in use.”
When “technology doesn’t exist at all, or doesn’t exist in a practical capacity,” then a commercial market for that technology doesn’t exist either, Williams said. And so it’s necessary to define the market, and educate folks about how the technology is providing value. Timing and external forces do, of course, play a role, and as the increased focus on privacy and regulatory environment shows, the company is also seeing market forces move toward what they’re offering.
“We’ve been on this journey for the last three-and-a-half years, and now we’re seeing it all come to fruition and take shape,” she said.-30-
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