Defend, a communication compliance platform for monetary establishments, raises $20M • TechCrunch

Two months in the past, the Securities and Alternate Fee (SEC) said it had fined 16 Wall Street firms greater than $1.1 billion for “widespread recordkeeping failures” concerning sustaining digital communications, contravening federal securities legal guidelines. As well as, the SEC is now probing private equity firms on their staff’ use of messaging apps for work functions, together with WhatsApp, Sign and Telegram, as many of those apps have features that assist messages that disappear robotically, representing potential violations of SEC guidelines.

To compound issues, many corporations have now adopted remote or hybrid work fashions, enabling staff to combine working from the workplace and residential, making it tougher for monetary establishments to trace staff’ communications.

And it’s towards that backdrop that Tel Aviv– and New York–primarily based communication compliance platform Shield needs to deal with the problems that the majority banks and funding corporations face, together with document administration, digital discovery, supervision and surveillance.


Regulators repeatedly change or add new compliance requirements quicker than corporations can adapt, which might result in massive fines and reputational injury for banks worldwide, Defend CEO and co-founder Shiran Weitzman defined to TechCrunch. One other problem, based on Weitzman, is the issue in capturing information transmitted by way of apps reminiscent of WhatsApp. The complexity of communication channels, and the utilization of each voice and textual content, make it tougher for organizations to observe the “paper” path.

To fulfill this rising demand for “extra superior” cross-channel surveillance, Defend introduced Thursday it has raised $20 million in a Sequence B spherical of funding. Its earlier backer Macquarie Capital led the spherical alongside UBS Next, a enterprise fund from Swiss financial institution UBS, and current buyers reminiscent of Mindset Enterprise and OurCrowd.

The four-year-old startup stated that it plans to make use of the proceeds to develop its world presence and ramp up improvement of its communications compliance platform.

“There’s a right away market want for extra superior surveillance options to permit monetary establishments to satisfy new laws and battle monetary crime,” Weitzman stated. “Understanding that regulators will proceed on this strict enforcement interval, and that banks won’t be halting utilization of communication channels as earn a living from home is now everlasting.”

When requested how the corporate handles the customers’ information, Weitzman stated it operates underneath the identical strict laws as its clients. “Defend doesn’t retailer customers’ information and doesn’t have entry to clients’ information. We take proactive measures to guard information by masking personally identifiable identification (PII) inside communications.”

Defend leans on AI methods to assist corporations counter market abuse, dangerous inside actors and regulatory threat. The startup, which isn’t the one firm utilizing AI, would compete with AI-powered communication surveillance platforms like Behavox and Relativity within the trade. Defend recently introduced new eDiscovery capabilities permitting customers to reply shortly to regulatory inquiries. The corporate partnered with London-based speech and NLP expertise firm Intelligent Voice to bolster its voice surveillance capabilities, Weitzman famous.

The corporate’s newest money injection comes lower than a yr after Defend raised a $15 million Series A, and the corporate stated that it has grown its gross sales by 280% year-on-year. The corporate stated that it has additionally elevated its buyer base by 250% since its earlier funding spherical again in January. As well as, Defend opened an R&D facility in Lisbon this yr, Weitzman stated, including that the corporate selected Portugal as a result of it’s becoming a major European tech hub.

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