Microsoft and Salesforce Veterans Raise $8 Million for a New AI Cybersecurity Firm

Artificial intelligence is being used by a recent startup in the Seattle region to assist overworked security personnel in locating critical security vulnerabilities and reducing risks.

In a seed round led by Seattle-based Voyager Capital, Averlon recently raised $8 million. Other participants included Salesforce Ventures, Outpost Ventures, and a number of well-known security executives.

Sunil Gottumukkala and Vishal Agarwal, the co-founders of Averlon, oversaw engineering teams at Salesforce before encountering the issue they are currently attempting to resolve.

The software tools available to businesses to assist them detect security flaws and vulnerabilities are more advanced than before. However, they have also brought forth an issue: security teams are receiving many more alarms than they can manage. Furthermore, it’s not always obvious which warnings ought to come first.

The influx of alerts may also cause conflict between the engineering and security departments.

Averlon assesses a company’s security vulnerabilities and plots the potential path a malevolent actor could take to compromise their systems using a combination of generative and predictive AI.

Gottumukkala told reporters, “We’re helping fix that needle in the haystack that actually is going to cause a potential breach.”

According to Gottumukkala, there are several security tools currently available on the market that can notify businesses of such vulnerabilities. However, few are able to identify the most urgent risks and assist in their elimination.

Gottumukkala stated, “We haven’t seen anything in the market that comes anywhere close to what we can do.”

Gottumukkala spent 16 years at Microsoft before joining Salesforce as a senior vice president in cybersecurity. Agarwal worked for 16 years at Microsoft before joining Salesforce as senior vice president of software engineering.

Concerns about cybersecurity are growing as generative AI and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies proliferate and hackers and security experts alike exploit these newfound powers.

Gottumukkala expressed optimism over the ways in which generative AI can support businesses in self-defense.

“Generative AI capabilities will be available to everybody,”  he declared.“But defenders have context and the data that is specific to their environment.”

Since its founding two years ago, Averlon has worked with a number of early partners, some of whom are now paying clients. The 12-person startup has received $10.5 million in capital total.

Voyager Capital Partner Austin Guyette said in a statement that “Averlon is a powerful platform that allows enterprises to map exactly how an attacker can compromise an environment.” “By understanding the attacker’s view, Averlon gives CISOs and their teams unparalleled ability to prioritize what an attacker can explore or exploit to pinpoint threats, predict attacks, and to mitigate them.”

Recently, financing was raised by Dropzone AI, Oleria, and StepSecurity, among other cybersecurity businesses based in the Seattle area. According to sources, cybersecurity companies raised around $2.7 billion in 154 deals in the first quarter of 2023—a minor decrease from the same period the previous year but an increase of 69% from the fourth quarter.