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Cambridge-based confidential computing startup Profian secures $5M funding for cloud native development

Image credits: Profian

Profian, a Confidential Computing platform that is focused on bespoke open source solutions, has secured $5 million (nearly £3.7 million) in a seed funding round. The investment round was led by Project A Ventures and Illuminate Financial, and included angel investors: Olivier Pomel, Chief Executive Officer of Datadog; Tyler McMullen, Chief Technology Officer of Fastly; Till Schneidereit, Chairman of Bytecode Alliance; and Sarah Novotny, Board Member of the Linux Foundation.

The funds will be used to enable Profian to develop a suite of open source products and services around Confidential Computing, a set of hardware and software technologies to improve application security.

“Profian’s Confidential Computing platform will allow organizations who are currently unable to enjoy the benefits of cost savings and speed associated with public clouds — for regulatory, audit or risk management reasons — to deploy even their most sensitive data and applications in a truly hybrid, multi-cloud environment,” said Mike Bursell, Profian’s Chief Executive Officer. “Nathaniel and I are thrilled about the investor support we have received thus far and the team we have assembled. We look forward to launching our platform in early 2022 and engaging with the open source community.”

“Mike and Nathaniel’s exceptional backgrounds make for an amazing pair of founders to take on this challenge,” explained Uwe Horstmann, General Partner at Project A, “and we believe Profian and Enarx will have the same massive impact on Confidential Computing as containers did for cloud native development.”

Profian: Heads up

Profian was co-founded by Mike Bursell, former Chief Security Architect at Red Hat, and Nathaniel McCallum, former Virtualization Security Architect at Red Hat. As corporate cyber and data breaches continue to accelerate worldwide, there is a heightened requirement for organisations to increase their security for workloads in the cloud.

For this reason, Profian aims to bring cryptographic proof and verifiable trust to general computing using confidential computing, the protection of data in use by performing the computation in a hardware-based Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). Profian is a member of the Confidential Computing Consortium, a Linux Foundation project, which unites hardware vendors, cloud providers, and software developers to accelerate the adoption of Trusted Execution Environment technologies and standards.

Its platform will be applicable across industries, but will initially focus on the financial services sector, where there is a well-defined set of use cases and a strong appetite for solutions that meet the strong confidentiality and integrity requirements.

More than 30 industry innovators including Accenture, Arm, Cisco, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat and VMware are members. Also, Profian is a member of the Bytecode Alliance, an industry alliance around WebAssembly and related technologies.

Jim Whitehurst, former CEO of Red Hat and Senior Advisor to IBM, said, “Confidential Computing is a key security technology in the move to broader cloud adoption, and I’m excited by Profian’s open source approach to addressing this growing market.”