As chat clouds like Slack and programming clouds like Github continue to grow, a huge challenge facing corporations is important information from leaking out. The same challenge exists for all cloud workloads in fact.
To help solve this problem, Nightfall AI (formerly known as Watchtower AI), launched with $20.3 million in funding led by Bain Capital Ventures and Venrock. Pear VC, Sri Viswanath, CTO of Atlassian, and Kelvin Beachum of the New York Jets also participated in the round. Funding proceeds will be used to deepen the scope of the Nightfall platform and continue to expand the company’s business reach.
Nightfall leverages machine learning and natural language processing to discover, classify, and protect sensitive information across SaaS and data infrastructure, providing continuous protection for cloud services like Slack, GitHub, and AWS. Nightfall also ensures proactive compliance with a number of regulatory regimes, including CCPA, GDPR, and HIPAA.
Nowadays business-critical data in the enterprise is sprayed across a broad set of disparate cloud systems. This leads to information security problems around data leakage, exfiltration, as well as compliance risk. The urgency of this problem is exacerbated by the move to cloud, and frustration with first-gen vendors that are highly inaccurate, without remediation and holistic cloud coverage.
As a founding team member of UberEats, Chief Technology Officer Rohan Sathe experienced the problem that Nightfall is solving firsthand. While at Uber, Sathe built backend systems to handle petabytes of consumer data across thousands of SaaS and data infrastructure products in real-time, helping grow UberEats to $7 billion in revenue and over 200 engineers.
“When you have data scattered across numerous fragmented systems, not to mention people communicating in real-time, it’s inevitable that sensitive information will get sprayed,” said Sathe. “Nightfall acts as a continuous shield, providing administrators the option of manually taking action on the data, leveraging automated workflows to prevent data loss, or classifying data historically for compliance.”
“Our mission at Nightfall is to build the control plane for cloud data, enabling enterprises to know what data they have across the cloud, and to proactively manage and protect that information,” said Isaac Madan, Nightfall Chief Executive Officer. Madan was previously on the investment team at Venrock, an early-stage venture capital firm with a storied history in cybersecurity, with recent exits including CloudFlare and Evident.io, dating back to Vontu, Imperva, and CheckPoint.
The Nightfall team has prior experience at platform tech and cybersecurity companies, including Uber, Atlassian, Deliveroo, Palo Alto Networks, CrowdStrike, and Akamai.
In under a year, Nightfall has scaled rapidly among high-tech growth startups and Fortune 500 enterprises alike. Josh Sosnin, CISO of Ellucian, a cloud software provider in the higher education industry, credits Nightfall with helping to secure Ellucian’s Slack communications for the company’s 3,000-plus employees. “Nightfall has been indispensable in our data security program at Ellucian. The team has been incredibly responsive and focused on continually improving the platform for new use cases,” said Sosnin.
The platform is ahead of the market in delivering an approach that has high classification efficacy, and delivers measurable productivity enhancements to security teams through straightforward deployment and automation. “Nightfall’s platform deployed in seconds, and quickly became a core component of our security program. The platform’s accuracy and automation capabilities limit the need for manual intervention, while delivering continuous protection in environments like Slack,” said Michael Laurenzano, CTO of Clinc, an enterprise artificial intelligence firm servicing highly regulated industries. “Nothing on the market comes close to this,” added Laurenzano.
Enrique Salem, Partner at Bain Capital Ventures, will join Nightfall’s Board of Directors. Salem has a distinguished history in software and cybersecurity, as the former CEO of Symantec, as well as serving as a Board Director at DocuSign and Atlassian. “Isaac, Rohan, and the Nightfall team are addressing a deep and profound need in the world of information security, where I have spent nearly three decades of my career. With the proliferation of data across the cloud, high accuracy content inspection that is easy to operationalize is more important than ever. Nightfall has built a powerful and elegant solution to this problem. We are delighted to have been investors since the very beginning and to continue deepening our partnership with the team,” said Salem.
Nightfall competes against well-funded startups including Netskope, Very Good Security, and Bitglass in the multibillion-dollar data loss prevention market. But it already counts among its customer base Periscope Data, Ellucian, and Clinc, as well as other Fortune 500 enterprises across segments like health care, insurance, and education.
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