Software developer Hazy, previously known as Anon AI, has secured $1m from Microsoft’s investment arm.

The investment comes alongside winning the M12’s Innovate AI award. Innovate AI is a global competition launched by M12, formerly Microsoft Ventures, to recognise and award capital to high-potential AI and machine learning star-ups.

The competition took place in North America, Europe and Israel and saw 10 finalists battle it out in each country.

Hazy is developing software that can automatically anonymise data, enabling developers and data scientists to share it securely. Data security is becoming even more pertinent as we head towards GDPR coming into force next month.

The company won ‘Best in Cybersecurity’ at UKTN’s Elevator Pitch LIVE last year. It then went on to raise £340,000 in pre-Seed funding in January 2018. That round was led by the UCL Technology Fund, alongside the London Co-Invested Fund, AI Seed and Ascension Ventures.

This latest investment will help Hazy build a developer tool and advance its prototype model.

Harry Keen, CEO of Hazy, said: “This award is both an excellent achievement and an immense boost, which provides a platform to drive our growth strategy. A $1 million investment is transformational for our company and will enable us to further improve our developer tools and engage with a greater range of clients and prospects.

“Competition was extremely tough and we are grateful that Microsoft has recognised the potential of our software,” he added. 

Hazy won in the European category of the Innovate AI competition. They were assessed on; problem addressed, market size and growth potential, differentiated/disruptive solution, performance and traction with customers and ability of founding team to execute.

M12 has invested in more than 50 startups since launch in 2016 including AI innovators like Agolo, Bonsai, Crowdflower and Livongo. It has also formed an AI fund to support startups focused on inclusive growth and a positive impact on society.

Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president, global head of M12, said: “Security is a top-line priority for Microsoft. Hazy’s ability to anonymise data in order to ensure platform users and the data they share is more secure is paramount to safeguarding user privacy. We look forward to watching this talented team grow.”  

In addition to the $1 million investment, Hazy has been awarded $500,000 in Microsoft Azure credits for three years.

Check out our UK tech investment tracker for the latest industry deals.

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