March 28, 2017 06:00 ET

Smyte Raises $4 Million Series A to Continue Battling "Bad Actors" Online

The security startup founded by former Facebook, Google and Instagram execs is analyzing nearly five billion data points every month to stop attackers from disrupting peer-to-peer marketplaces and social apps

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 28, 2017) - Smyte, the online security startup and Y Combinator Winter 2015 graduate, has raised $4 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Avalon Ventures, with participation from new and existing investors, including Baseline Ventures, Founder Collective, Harrison Metal, Upside Partnership and Y Combinator. Smyte has now raised $6.25 million overall.

Smyte was founded in 2014 by Pete Hunt, an original member of Facebook's React.js team; Julian Tempelsman, who worked on anti-abuse, fraud and spam for Google Wallet, Gmail and Google Apps; and Josh Yudaken, a member of Instagram's core infrastructure team. Smyte initially targeted peer-to-peer marketplaces and social apps -- among the most common targets of scammers and spammers -- with its trust and safety platform. Its customers include GoFundMe, Meetup, Quora and TaskRabbit. Going forward, Smyte will also target SaaS providers, financial services companies and healthcare organizations.

Smyte uses an ensemble of techniques, including manual heuristics, unsupervised anomaly detection and supervised machine learning to analyze nearly five billion online actions every month. Its service identifies potentially malicious activity based on known signals, such as commonly used account profile pictures and trigrams. Smyte customers use this info to thwart scams, spam, credit card fraud, and other devious "bad actor" activities. Because Smyte's service is constantly watching and learning, customers can reduce or eliminate use of credit cards, phone numbers and other information typically deployed to authenticate users, thereby minimizing "friction" in the engagement process.

"The biggest companies have custom-built tools and internal teams focused on this problem, but smaller companies lack these resources and are therefore disadvantaged," says Avalon Ventures Partner Rich Levandov, who has joined the Smyte Board of Directors. "Smyte's trust and safety platform solves this problem by automatically collecting and analyzing billions of data points, and providing customers with the security information they need to make smarter business decisions. We are very excited about Smyte's progress and potential, and look forward to helping the team grow its business."

"Companies are getting smarter about the online security and abuse risks posed to their businesses, but attackers are constantly changing tactics. What worked in terms of fraud, spam and harassment prevention last year or even last week may not be effective today," says Hunt. "That's why companies need a service that consumes and analyzes massive amounts of online account data like clockwork, and gets smarter as it goes. We've made significant progress in product development over the past two years, and customers have reported cost savings, reduced customer friction and churn, and fewer incidents of fraud and spam. The new funds will allow us to grow our headcount in key areas and expand into new markets. Our aim is to allow our customers to grow faster without exposing their user-base to spam, fraud, harassment, compromised accounts or other forms of abuse."

About Smyte
Smyte is an online security startup based in San Francisco, California. The company was founded in 2014 by former Facebook, Google and Instagram security and infrastructure engineers. Its trust and safety platform is used by many of the leading P2P marketplaces and social apps to combat spam, scam, online harassment and credit card fraud. Smyte is a graduate of the Y Combinator Winter 2015 program. More info at

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