News & Analysis

The CIA’s VC fund has backed Australian malicious bot blocker Kasada

- November 27, 2019 < 1 MIN READ

Kasada founder and CEO Sam Crowther.

Cybersecurity startup Kasada has closed its $7 million Series A raise with the CIA’s 20-year-old venture capital fund, In-Q-Tel (IQT) joining the round. 

The Sydney tech venture previously announced the first $6.5 million in the Series A from the CSIRO’s innovation fund, Main Sequence Ventures, and Westpac’s Reinventure Group, having first raised $2.5m in 2018.

The IQT backing is a major coup for the four-year-old startup launched by CEO Sam Crowther when he was a teenager. 

Kasada’s cloud-based tech product, Polyform, is a bot detection and mitigation system for websites, mobile apps, and APIs. It stops malicious attacks such as credential stuffing, fraud, account takeover and data-scraping. It also protects against the dark web’s inventory of stolen user credentials and automated fraud tools.

IQT’s remit is to work with US allies to back startups with potential for high impact on national security protection. It’s not-for-profit, and independent of the CIA and opened an Australian office earlier this year. This is its first local investment. Among more than 200 ventures it’s backed over two decades, one was a satellite mapping venture, Keyhole, that Google went on to buy. It’s now better known as Google Earth.

IQT Australia co-managing director Brigid O’Brien, said Kasada’s  technology strengthens website security and “dramatically shifts the economics of security in favor of website owners”.

Sam Crowther said In-Q-Tel’s backing, alongside the existing Australian VC investors was a strong strong validation of Kasada. 

With IQT now on board, we have the right partners to help fast-track the delivery of our leading-edge technology,” he said. 

“Smart businesses know cybersecurity; data protection and customer experience are inextricably linked.” 

His startup has doubled its engineering and customer-facing teams over the past year and recently appointed Pascal Podvin as Chief Revenue Officer. He was precviously CRO at ThreatMetrix.

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