Axa-Backed Sayata Labs Raises $6.5M for AI that Assesses Cyber Risk

Sayata Labs, a Tel Aviv startup developing an AI software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that empowers insurance brokers to assess businesses’ cyber risk, today emerged from stealth with $6.5 million in seed funding led by Elron. CEO and cofounder Asaf Lifshitz said the fresh capital will be used to “accelerate” global operations.

Source: Venture Beat | Published on March 27, 2019

Cyber security

“This investment is a vote of confidence in Sayata’s approach to assessing cyber risk and our technology,” said Lifshitz, a Harvard graduate who formerly served as a physicist in Israel’s Ministry of Defense. “Sayata is pioneering a new approach to cyber insurance underwriting with an enterprise-grade solution and technology never before available to the small and medium-sized business [SMB] market. Our proprietary solution thoroughly assesses a company’s risk exposure, providing unmatched visibility to facilitate superior risk selection and modeling so insurance carriers can grow their SMB portfolio profitably and with confidence.”

The way he explains it, Sayata’s platform was architected from the ground up to determine whether a company is at risk of a network or data compromise. Toward that end, it scans a range of sources “directly linked” to historical cyber breaches, and leverages machine learning algorithms to generate insights — along with actionable recommendations — related to potential losses. Insurers can use these to identify fraught insurees, Lifshitz says, and to price premiums “appropriately” based on risk.

Sayata is wading into a global industry that’s set to grow from a value of more than $120 billion to over $300 billion by 2024, and it’s hardly a fly-by-night operation. VP of products Iddan Golomb received the highest distinction in the Israeli Intelligence Corp for technological achievement, and CTO Avishay Maya was previously a cybersecurity team leader in the Israeli Defense Force’s encryption and security division.

The founding team’s accomplishments caught the eye of Elron’s VP of cyber investments Zohar Rozenberg, who believes that Sayata is well-positioned to disrupt cyber insurance. “We view [the company’s] technology as a real game changer for cyber insurers underwriting SMBs,” he said. “Currently, insurers are underwriting these policies with little visibility or insight into the risk. Sayata is changing this reality by simultaneously raising the overall cyber security standard … and insurers by providing both parties with a far greater understanding of cybersecurity posture. This enables both insurers and insureds to significantly reduce their risk.”

In a show of confidence in the startup’s product, insurance provider and asset manager Axa, which services more than 105 million clients in 63 countries, signed on as an early customer. “Protecting our clients against cyber risks is one of our top priorities, which is why AXA partners with trusted, best-in-class solution providers,” said chief innovation officer Guillaume Borie. “With Sayata, we can both improve our risk selection, as well as advance our clients’ cybersecurity protection, which helps us partner with our clients effectively.”