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APRIL 2023

This past week cybersecurity companies made their annual pilgrimage to San Francisco to overrun the city; there are so many parties that firms end up renting out hotel lobbies and dive bars. Nothing says good times like the coffee bar at a 3-star hotel.

Companies occupied booths in the Moscone Center, which one wag nicknamed “The Basement of Sadness.” Investors also attend the conference, but mostly to meet with their portfolio companies and one another. People love to hate it because it’s the must-attend event of the year. Of course, the Lytical team was there as well, and like all of the cool kids, we are happy it’s in the rearview; but we did bring back some pearls of wisdom to share.

  • AI - Well, of course, one of this year's themes was machine learning and large language models. How could it not be? An AI security company placed first in the startup competition. While it may be a zeitgeist win it also points to a new area of cybersecurity that will be important in the future.

  • Belt tightening - While cybersecurity is protected from the larger economy because hackers don’t stop in economic downturns, one could still see evidence of a market slowdown. Perhaps the most obvious example was the giant booth for CyberReason, a company that had announced a CEO change and a 90% markdown in valuation just before the convention started. While they clearly had already paid for the space and booth, it was a stark reminder that unicorns that raised at lofty valuations in the past are going through a reckoning today.

  • Cloud Native and Beyond - Their time has finally come. Cloud native players had giant booths this year. Wiz may have been the standout, but plenty of other unicorns are vying for the title. One might argue that these companies have figured out cloud native marketing and are trying to catch up on the technology, but at least buyers now seem to be fully on board with the concept. We felt that the new area that is flying a bit under the radar is the data and security between clouds and services rather than users.

Below are a few of the articles that caught our attention this month. Moreover, we’ve inserted one or two sentences in italics, summarizing each article’s importance. We hope you enjoy and appreciate the material.


Here's a curated list of things we found interesting.

BabyAGI is Taking Silicon Valley by Storm. Should we be Scared?

We have played with these systems, and while they are still mostly thought experiments more than proof of concepts today they show clearly where technology is heading in the next few months.

Open source code that allows GPT4 to use the internet to accomplish tasks autonomously is proving popular. But experts say there are potential risks.

McKinsey & Company: What is Cybersecurity?

A nice basic explainer of what is cybersecurity along with McKinsey’s views on trends to watch out for in the next few years.

What’s the current state of cybersecurity for consumers, regulators, and organizations? And how can organizations turn the risks into rewards? Read on to learn from McKinsey Insights.

That Panicky Call From a Relative? It Could be a Thief Using a Voice Clone, FTC Warns.

A new form of attack enabled by AI technology, changing a fraudster's voice to sound like a family member. We are truly living in the future.

The Federal Trade Commission issued a consumer alert this week urging people to be vigilant for calls using voice clones generated by artificial intelligence, one of the latest techniques used by criminals hoping to swindle people out of money.


Deals that caught our eye.

Cybereason Secures $100 Million in Funding Led by SoftBank Corp.

This is a recap of Cybereason, once a unicorn. While we prefer to focus on the positive transactions, this is a canary in the coal mine for unicorn deals done at high valuations.

Cybereason, the XDR company, today announced a $100 million investment led by SoftBank Corp. to support the company’s global growth and advance its innovation in XDR, EDR, and EPP solutions. In addition, Cybereason announced that Eric Gan will serve as the company’s new CEO, subject to confirmation by the company’s board and pending customary regulatory approvals, while current CEO and Co-Founder Lior Div will transition to the role of advisor.


What we're listening to.


Created as a side project by Cameron Jones, a Cognitive Science PhD Student at UCSD, to try out summarization with langchain, an AI toolset. It works by scraping the Hacker Newsletter, summarizing the individual articles using Langchain and GPT-4, and then converting the text to speech using AWS Polly. We think this is a really neat application of AI and shows just how powerful these tools are that something like this can be created quickly and easily.


Lytical Ventures is a New York City-based venture firm investing in Enterprise Intelligence, comprising cybersecurity, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. Lytical’s professionals have decades of experience in direct investing generally and in Corporate Intelligence specifically.


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