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Email Security Firm GreatHorn Raises $13 Million

Waltham, MA-based email security firm GreatHorn has raised an additional $13 million in a new funding round technically filed as a Series A-1. The round was co-led by new investor RRE Ventures and existing investor .406 Ventures, with participation from other existing investors including Techstars Ventures, V1.VC and Uncork Capital.

It brings the total raised to date to almost $22 million.

GreatHorn describes itself as "the only 100 percent cloud-native platform dedicated to comprehensive email threat protection." It offers email threat detection and response designed to defend organizations before, during and after an attack. 

Email continues to be the Achilles Heel in organizations' security defenses. According to the latest DBIR, 32% of breaches involved phishing, and phishing was involved in 78% of cyber espionage incidents. According to the latest FBI IC3 report, the BEC and EAC variants of email fraud led to U.S. losses of almost $1.3 billion during 2018. Alex Pinto, head of Verizon security research, told SecurityWeek, "why bother hacking companies when we can just email the CFO and get him to send us money?"

"Despite decades of experience and billions of dollars spent," said Raju Rishi, general partner at new GreatHorn investor RRE Ventures, "the email security industry is no closer to making email safe for businesses. By rethinking how we approach email security, GreatHorn has delivered a platform that comprehensively protects enterprises against the rising sophistication of today's threats. We're excited to support GreatHorn as the company continues to build upon its current innovation and grow in the enterprise space."

GreatHorn builds a behavioral graph of corporate emails. "What we do is plug into cloud email systems like Google and O365, and we look at all of the mail that gets sent and received," founder and CEO Kevin O'Brien told SecurityWeek. Then we build a social graph -- we start to understand how, for example, a CFO receives messages from the CEO, what those messages look like, how often they come, are they a bi-directional flow or received only. And we look at all the mechanisms of authentication buried in the metadata. We develop a fingerprint that can be coupled with the social graph."

This enables the platform to see patterns of use, and be able to detect anomalies and indications of problems.

GreatHorn has had three consecutive years of triple-digit revenue growth and plans to use the additional funds to boost its expansion in the enterprise market. "As we continue to meet customer demand and drive the market," said O'Brien, "we remain fundamentally interested in redefining email as a secure system for all users, and ensuring that organizations who have adopted cloud email platforms are not relying on outdated perimeter controls or simple user education to protect their most critical assets."

By combining its threat detection engine with its own user education and incident response capabilities, says the firm, "GreatHorn's email security platform shields businesses from business email compromise, credential theft attempts, business services spoofing, malware, ransomware, and other advanced social engineering-based phishing attacks."

GreatHorn, founded in 2015, raised $6.3 million in a Series A funding round in June 2017.

Related: GreatHorn Expands Email Security Platform 

Related: State of Email Security: What Can Stop Email Threats? 

Related: Email Security Firm Vade Secure Raises $80 Million 

Related: FBI Warns of HTTPS Abuse in Phishing Campaigns

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Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.