Aussie fraud and security startup wins US$10 million seed funding from Blackbird and Airtree


Funding will accelerate global launch for online customer protection.
Alisdair Faulkner, CEO of Darwinium
Alisdair Faulkner, CEO of Darwinium | Image source: Supplied

Next-generation fraud and security platform Darwinium is being backed with a US$10 million seed funding injection led by Blackbird and Airtree.

The initial funding round, raised to elevate the global launch of the company into the security and fraud sector, will be targeted towards both product and customer expansion. Additional funding was supported by several prominent angel investors including Naval Ravikant and Jeff Fagnan.

Darwinium’s technology enables a new approach to holistic customer protection by understanding the complete user journey, reducing friction and fraud 

Built-in smart decisioning tools generate a singular view for security professionals

The company was founded by Australian Alisdair Faulkner, CEO of Darwinium and former chief product officer of ThreatMetrix, which was acquired for $817 million in 2018. Darwinium is also supported by Reed Taussig as board chairman who was previously the chairman and CEO of ThreatMetrix.

Darwinium combines the tools used internally for cybersecurity with the tools used to fight fraud, providing a single window into a user’s entire digital journey.

Account compromise and online fraud continue unabated, facilitated by swathes of breached credentials, despite large investments in solutions meant to separate good and bad behaviour.

Faulkner has built Darwinium to unify a widely disjointed approach to security controls which he sees hugely impacting businesses’ ability to protect their organisations. 

“The industry is seeing a surge in fraudsters capitalising on new technology and techniques to adapt attacks targeting online businesses and currently many are operating with ‘point-in-time’ solutions that are not fit for purpose,” says Faulkner.

“Protecting your customers must be about continuously scrutinising their digital journey and behaviour, rather than a point-in-time evaluation. It requires a joined-up system that allows proper collaboration between digital security and fraud via one singular view.”

Darwinium’s platform addresses the challenges and allows online businesses to capture valuable intelligence across their sales journey, he says.

“Risk decisions can then favour the customer and not the fraudster.”

Fast facts about cyber security

In Australia over 76,000 cybercrimes were reported in the past 12 months, an increase of 13 % from the previous financial year, according to the SMB cyber security report that was released on Friday 11 November, 2022, by global cyber security firm ESET.

A cybercrime was reported every 7 minutes on average, compared to every 8 minutes in financial year 2020-21.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) answered over 25,000 calls to the Australian Cyber Security Hotline for advice and assistance – an average of 69 calls per day, and an increase of 15 per cent from the previous financial year.

Financial losses due to business email compromise (BEC) increased to over $98 million, with an average loss of $64,000 per report.

Fraud, online shopping and online banking were the top reported cybercrime types, accounting for 54% of all reports. All sectors of the Australian economy were impacted by ransomware incidents, with the average cost per report increasing 14% compared to last financial year.

Other news in startups funding

Founded by product and engineering leaders from Atlassian, SafetyCulture and Eucalyptus, Australian startup Sauce has launched its beta product and announced a $2.3 million seed round led by Blackbird Ventures with help from Airtree Ventures and product leaders from SafetyCulture, Eucalyptus, Respondent, Minnow, EarlyWork, Archangel and UltraViolet Ventures.

Product managers know how to deliver feature wish lists but are often frustrated when they don’t achieve outcomes or rally stakeholders. Having led product teams at Australia’s fastest growing tech companies, Sauce co-founders Matt Hinds, James Gabb and James Szklarz have experienced these problems first-hand.

“We’re building Sauce to be the mission control room in every product-led company. It doesn’t make sense that we can’t point to a product collaboration tool that’s actually created a step-change experience for how teams build game-changing products, when companies like Figma and Slack are becoming more product-driven than ever before” says Gabb.

“We absolutely hated delivering laundry lists of features that didn’t deliver value, manually tagging feedback and updating stakeholders with boring docs. It wasted 50% of our time and didn’t help us achieve outcomes” says Hinds.

“Setting, delivering and forgetting no longer works. Behind every successful product there is a killer product strategy, many feature iterations and a highly engaged team. So that’s what Sauce will supercharge every PM to achieve.”