Israeli startup comes out of stealth to tackle cyber threats in the GenAI wild west

Lasso Security raises $6m in seed funding while its co-founder fights in the Israeli-Hamas war and its workers raise donations to supply protective gear for soldiers

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Team at Tel Aviv-based startup Lasso Security. (Courtesy)
Team at Tel Aviv-based startup Lasso Security. (Courtesy)

While one of its founders is drafted in the Israeli army to fight the Hamas terror group, Tel Aviv-based startup Lasso Security came out of stealth on Monday armed with $6 million in seed funding.

The Israeli startup has secured seed funding led by London-based Entrée Capital with the participation of Samsung Next, to enter the fray in the market for the protection against cyber threats as more and more businesses are adopting generative AI technologies.

Lasso confirmed it rejected investment capital from Web Summit’s venture capital arm, after the outgoing CEO of the tech summit company accused Israel of committing “war crimes” in its response to the Hamas terror group’s devastating onslaught.

With the recent hype over OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a so-called large language model that uses deep learning to spit out human-like text, and Google’s Bard chatbot, an array of new applications and tools in the field of AI have been sprouting at a swift pace. The fast adoption of new GenAI and LLMs technologies by businesses and enterprises also makes their network systems and devices vulnerable to multiple security threats, including data exposure.

Founded in July by serial entrepreneurs Elad Schulman, Ophir Dror, and Yuval Abad, Lasso has developed a security platform to help organizations make the transition to the GenAI technological revolution, while protecting their data, customers, and employees.

The startup says that its platform vigilantly safeguards every data point, command, and prompt generated by LLMs, allowing businesses to embed GenAI technologies without jeopardizing both data and user privacy while protecting against malicious threats.

Illustrative. Robots and artificial intelligence (AI). (Phonlamai iStock by Getty Images)

“As early as next year, organizations without a dedicated GenAI risk management solution will experience negative outcomes,” said Lasso co-founder and CEO Schulman. “We’ve analyzed numerous LLM security challenges and developed a comprehensive solution encompassing preventative and remediation measures.”

“Our mission is to equip businesses with robust defenses to safeguard their systems, including those using generative AI technologies that leverage LLMs,” Schulman added.

Lasso says its platform is addressing numerous, sophisticated and emerging LLM cybersecurity threats, such as model theft, malicious code generation, prompt injection, data poisoning, and supply chain attacks.

One-third of businesses and organizations are already regularly using generative AI in at least one function, according to a recent report by consultancy giant McKinsey. In addition, 40 percent of those reporting AI adoption at their organizations say their companies expect to invest more in generative AI technologies, according to the report.

Dror, Lasso’s co-founder, is one of the more than 300,000 reservists who have been called up to the Israeli army in the aftermath of the October 7 atrocities perpetrated by Hamas, which killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians. The Iran-backed terror group seized at least 240 hostages under the cover of massive rocket fire.

In the onset of the war, co-founder Dror was at the front and realized that he and other soldiers lacked protective gear, Lasso’s employees decided that they were “enlisting” in the effort and raised funds to supply them with essential equipment. In realizing there was a bigger need in other army units, Lasso joined forces with the Duvdevan Foundation and the National Union of Israeli Students and established a logistics center at the company’s headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Together, they raised $1.5 million from donations, which resulted in the supply of over 800 packages of protective equipment, first aid kits, field medicine, and other necessary supplies to numerous Israel Defense Forces units to help ensure the safety of soldiers in the field.

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