Tessian

Machine intelligence startup Tessian has raised $13m (£9m) in Series A funding.

The startup’s round was co-led by new backer Balderton Capital and existing investor Accel.

Other participants included Amadeus Capital Partners, Crane, LocalGlobe, Winton Ventures and Walking Ventures.

Tessian, formerly known as Checkrecipient, seeks to protect individuals and enterprises from potential cybersecurity threats.

Co-founders, Tom Adams, Ed Bishop and Tim Sadler, met while studying engineering at London’s Imperial College. They then worked in investment banking for some of the world’s most prominent financial institutions.

During this time, the founders identified a gap in the market to protect companies against the problem of highly sensitive information being sent to the wrong person on email.

“With the recent report from the ICO that misaddressed emails are now the number one data security incident reported to them and GDPR now in full swing, companies should make addressing this risk a top security priority,” said Sadler, the CEO.

“It’s human nature to fear scary things like hackers or malware, but we often don’t think twice about the dangers behind something as familiar and ingrained as sending an email. In reality that’s where an overwhelming threat lies.”

Since closing its Seed round last year, Tessian’s team has grown from 13 to 50 people, and the company says annual recurring revenue is up by over 400% in the last 12 months.

The Series A investment will be used to expand Tessian’s product offering and grow its business by increasing the size of its sales and marketing teams.

Once installed, Tessian’s proprietary machine intelligence tech analyses enterprise email networks to identify and understand normal and abnormal email sending patterns and behaviours. It then detects anomalies in outgoing emails and warns users about potential risks, before the email is sent.

“What Tessian have done – and this is why we are so excited about them – is apply machine intelligence to understand how humans communicate with each other and use that deeper understanding to secure enterprise email networks,” said Balderton Capital partner Suranga Chandratillake.

“The genius of this approach is that while the product focus today is on email – by far the most used communication channel in the corporate enterprise – their technology can be applied to all communication channels in time. And, as we all communicate in larger volumes and on more channels, that represents a vast opportunity.”

Chandratillake and Accel partner Luciana Lixandru will join Tessian’s board.

Lixandru commented: “The effectiveness of Tessian’s product attracted our attention at an early stage. Since our seed investment just over a year ago, the company’s ability to address a fundamental data security risk has been reflected in its strong growth and a string of blue chip client wins. I’m excited to be working even more closely with the team, as it rolls out its solution to an even greater number of businesses.”