J S Gamble
Blu Venture has investors participated in an oversubscribed $5 million funding round for Cybera Globala New York startup developing tools to fight cybercrime and money laundering. Cambridge, Mass. based VC converge and Based in New Hampshire New North Ventures led the round with the participation of founders from Boston and New York Collective, Swiss VCs Serpentine and CV VC, and New York-based K20 Fund and Dreamit Ventures. So far, Cybera has raised $10 million.
“At Cybera, we are committed to stopping money laundering and protecting customers from fraud and other financial cybercrimes,” said Cybera co-founder and CEO Nicholas dust, who worked as a special prosecutor in Switzerland. “I have seen firsthand the impact of this problem and the complexities of prosecuting international gangs operating at high speed,” he added.
Blu is cyber-focused
Founded in 2010, Blu Venture has invested nearly $100 million in 84 startups focused on SaaS and technology companies. The latest fund of $25 million was raised last year. Blu’s portfolio investments this year include Pearl, Zeeve, Cybera, Sprockets, Todyl, and CommSafe AI.
J S Gamble, one of the company’s founders, acts as managing partner. He previously worked at consulting firms McKinsey and Price Waterhouse. Gamble briefly served as acting CEO of Smart Imaging Systems and has served as an advisor to several portfolio companies. He is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
Based in Cambridge, Mass., Converge VC is led by co-founders Maia Heymann and Nilanjana Bhowmik. It invests in a range of technologies including AI and cybersecurity. Based in New Hampshire, New North Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning, cyber and critical infrastructure. It is led by founding partners Jeremy Hitchcock and Brett Davis.
Founder collective, co-founded by the managing partner David Frankel, is a seed-stage fund with offices in Boston and New York. Its portfolio companies include SeatGeek, Coupang, Buzzfeed, and PillPack (sold to Amazon). Previously, Frankel was co-founder and CEO of Internet Solutions, an Internet service provider in Africa that was acquired by NTT.
Based in New York, Dreamit Ventures focuses on startups in the healthcare and cybersecurity space. It is led by Managing Partner Darren Sandberg, who previously held operational positions at CIML, a channel intelligence holding company (acquired by Google). He also spent over 10 years as a private equity and venture investor at Actua, an investment and holding company for SaaS-based technology companies. K-20 is managed by managing partners Eli Ghoori, Joe Lieberman and Jake Winograd.
Nicola Staub holds a Masters in Law from King’s College, London and the University of Zurich. But his greatest strength as an entrepreneur probably arose from his hands-on role fighting fraud, fraud and other financial crimes in the Swiss canton of Schwyz, where he served as a special prosecutor. In addition, he worked at the law firm MLL and Bank Credit Suisse, he was also a member of the Swiss Cybersecurity Committee and ambassador of the Global Cyber Alliance.
Market Experienced Approach
Cybera believes the threat of cybercrime is real and growing. The reason: It is low risk and low investment and brings outsized returns. As a result, business losses from cybercrime increased by 164% to $6.9 billion in 2021. If these high rates are sustained, the US economy could lose an estimated $10 trillion to cybercrime by 2025. Cybera says his vision is to change that.
The company has attempted to fill two clear gaps in the market — logging and sharing victim accounts, and creating a global watchlist of problem accounts. “Our first two solutions are focused on providing victims with a rapid response mechanism and then a global watchlist that allows information to be securely shared with our clients across the financial system,” said Staub.
Cybera’s “fully scalable” solutions have helped report over 2,000 problematic accounts and wallets to authorities and freeze hundreds of thousands of dollars.