Amazon and Hewlett Packard were among the acquirers.

AI is important to the future of cybersecurity, although some experts don’t believe the tech will be a silver bullet. Nonetheless, recent acquisitions show the rising significance of this technology in the fight against cyber criminals. This year through 2/28/2017, there have been three acquisitions of cybersecurity startups that offer AI.

All three cybersecurity startups featured in this brief offer machine learning technology, a set of algorithms that are used to train machines to learn from data and predict trends and outcomes. AI is an umbrella term that includes companies using machine learning algorithms for natural language processing, predictive analytics, and pattern recognition, among other things.

Using CB Insights database we profiled the three AI cybersecurity companies that have all been acquired by big tech companies in the first two months of 2017.

In addition, Accenture acquired the federal services unit of AI cybersecurity company Endgame on February 8th. That deal is excluded in the analysis below, because a unit of Endgame was acquired, and not the whole company.

Additionally, LRR Partners acquired BluVector on January 9th. BluVector, a spin-off from the defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation, uses machine learning algorithms to detect cyber threats to an enterprise network in real-time. We exclude that deal from the analysis as well because BluVector will remain a standalone company after the terms of the deal are finalized.

2016 Global Tech Exits Report:
There were 3350+ tech exits in 2016, a 4% decline over 2015. This report dives deep into tech M&A and IPO trends, covering top investors and VCs, largest exits, and much more.

Information about the recently acquired companies’ funding rounds, investors, and patents comes directly from the CB Insights platform.

1. Invincea

Acquired by Sophos, 2/8/2017

Invincea

Invincea offers advanced malware threat detection, network breach prevention, and pre-breach forensic intelligence. Its flagship product “X by Invincea” is a machine learning, endpoint solution aimed at protecting against new, unknown threat types. Invincea has several patents (featured below) for detecting threats using a sandbox environment which enables software developers to isolate untested code before it is released, among other uses.

Sophos acquired Invincea for $100 million in cash, with the option of a $20 million earn-out, depending on performance targets set by Sophos. Invincea Labs, the company’s research and development unit is not included in the deal.

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Invincea patents


2. Niara

Acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, 2/2/2017

Niara

Niara offers User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) technology, which uses supervised and unsupervised machine learning techniques to analyze user behavior and find anomalies that indicate a security issue.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) will integrate the company’s product with its subsidiary Aruba ClearPass, for networking infrastructure. Niara’s cofounders – Chief Executive Sriram Ramachandran and Vice President of Engineering Prasad Palkar – were both previously employed by Aruba.

The Niara deal is HPE’s third acquisition in 2017, following the acquisitions of SimpliVity and Cloud Cruiser.

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3. Harvest.ai

Acquired by Amazon, 1/9/2017 

Harvestai

Harvest.ai uses machine learning and AI to analyze user behavior around a company’s key IP to try to identify and stop targeted attacks before valuable customer data can be stolen. Harvest.ai’s flagship product is patent-pending—an AI product called MACIE Analytics that monitors how intellectual property is being accessed in real-time.

According to media sources, Amazon may have started the process to buy Harvest.ai in early 2016. However, details of the acquisition are now becoming public knowledge. It is rumored that Amazon bought the company for as much as $20M, a windfall for the company’s lone VC backer, Trinity Ventures.

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