Anti-Fraud Startup Pindrop Raises $90M As Voice Evolves To Be The Next Computer Interface

Written by Dana Sanchez

Voice interfaces and smart assistants Like Google Home and Amazon Alexa are showing up everywhere, and so, unfortunately, are the opportunities to rip us off when we allow them to do tasks for us like opening a credit card or disabling a home security system.

Half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, according to a ComScore prediction.


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Pindrop, an Atlanta-based leader in voice security and authentication, has closed a $90-million Series D funding round that will help the company expand internationally and hopefully make the world a safer place in cyberspace.

The company provides anti-fraud and authentication software for call centers, and it wants to expand, build more products, and develop global partnerships with telecommunications leaders and consumer IoT organizations.

Pindrop’s revenue increased 137 percent over the last three years. Its customers include eight of the 10 largest banks and five of the seven largest insurance companies in the U.S. Its technology protects more than 200 million consumer accounts, Pindrop said a press release.

The $90 million funding round was led by London-based Vitruvian Partners, one of the largest growth capital investment funds in Europe. That brings Pindrop’s total funding amount to $212.8 million across five funding rounds.

Pindrop was co-founded by Executive Chairman Dr. Paul Judge, a serial entrepreneur, and Vijay Balasubramaniyan, the company’s CEO and CTO.

Pindrop
Image: Pindrop

 

An inventor, investor and entrepreneur, Judge’s motto is “build something from nothing.” That’s one of the first things you see when you visit his website.

Considered a godfather of Atlanta tech, Judge attended Morehouse College and earned his Ph.D. in network security at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was on the founding team of CipherTrust in 2000 and served as chief technology officer until the company was acquired in 2006. Judge served as senior VP and CTO of Secure Computing Corp until 2007. He founded Purewire in 2007, which was acquired by Barracuda Networks in 2009.

Judge is the co-founder and partner of TechSquare Labs, an early-stage venture capital fund in Atlanta that has raised more than $300 million in VC. He founded Luma, home-network security and bandwidth management for increasingly connected families. The startup sold to Newell’s First Alert for more than $10 million this year. As an angel investor, Judge runs Judge Ventures and has invested in companies such as robotic bartender company Monsieur and Ionic Security.

Pindrop has some very big-name Silicon Valley tech investors from earlier funding rounds who invested again in the Series D. These include Andreessen Horowitz, Citi Ventures, Felicis Ventures (which backed Credit Karma), CapitalG (formerly Google Capital, the late-stage growth venture capital fund financed by Alphabet Inc.), GV (formerly Google Ventures, it provides seed, venture, and growth-stage funding to tech companies,) and IVP.

New strategic investors in Pindrop’s Series D include Allegion Ventures (based in Dublin), Cross Creek (Salt Lake City), Dimension Data (Johannesburg), Singapore-based EDBI, and Goldman Sachs.

“Voice-based systems, both phone and IoT based, have traditionally been vulnerable to a range of security threats and fraud because of a lack of robust identity and security technology,” Judge said. “At Pindrop, we are bringing trust and security into voice-based interactions to enable the evolution of voice as the next computer interface.”

Call center phone fraud accounts for $14 billion in losses each year, and growing, Venture Beat reported. The attacks increased 113 percent in 2018. Pindrop provides anti-fraud and authentication software for call centers.

“Our broad range of investors collectively view Pindrop as the established industry leader for securing the future of voice as it moves beyond the voice channel and towards voice-enabled devices,” Balasubramaniyan said in a prepared statement. “This investment enables us to quickly boost our advancements in consumer IoT and voice technology while also continuing to strengthen our market-leading solutions for anti-fraud and authentication solutions for the global enterprise.”

 

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About Dana Sanchez
Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on Moguldom.com for Nubail Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.