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We Went to RSA: 3 Insights and 2 Rumors We Can Share With You


April 2024

RSA - Real Shady Adults.

RSA is the premier cybersecurity conference in the country and probably the world. It is also our favorite way to catch con-flu, which is like covid without the politics and guilt. You’ll be wiped out for days and seriously question your ability to meet other humans face-to-face ever again. Good times!

You’ll be shocked to hear that AI was the theme of this year’s conference. It turns out that you can reinvigorate any product or category by sprinkling a little AI on top; it’s a lot like Sriracha in that way.

Are you tired of Attack Surface Management? Well, have you tried it with AI?

Penetration tests are old hat? Try them with AI!

Snake oil that doesn’t really work? Now, with twice as much AI!!!

We braved the show floor so we can bring you these hot insights:

  1. AI will make every product better, and any math or correlation your product uses should now be called AI.

  2. Spending a metric ton of money on a booth and swag is still a popular move.

  3. No one is happy that spending seemed to have slowed in Q1.

Now, for some real insights and maybe some gossip:

Speaking to a room of only slightly inebriated CISOs and feds, we learned that cyberattacks actually fell for the first time in years during the outbreak of the Ukraine war.

Consolidation is coming, big players need to buy growth, and CISOs want to stretch their budgets, so Best in Breed is facing headwinds.

It’s unicorn hunting season: several players have raised at valuations they can’t hope to sustain, and other players will either eat them or just leave them as carrion. The obvious example is Lacework, a company that raised over $1.8B and was contemplating a sale to Wiz for $200M that fell through. Rumor has it that they still had $800M in the bank, so the investors were simply hoping to get their money back from the last $1B round and leave the keys with Wiz.

RSA had its annual startup sandbox competition, a good barometer of the current hot part of the market. This year, the winner was Reality Defender, a deep fake detection product. We are skeptical of doing deep fake detection, but it is clearly timely and we hope the company solves the problem before the elections in November. ;)

We had penned a whole other rant about the systemic problems with the security industry and our simple and ingenious fix that will completely solve the problem, but sadly, we have run out of space this month to share it here.

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.

Wiz Deal to Acquire Lacework Collapses

The market is begging to rationalize and find honest prices for many of the unicorns that were minted in late 2020 and 2021. This isn’t the last zombie-corn we will see get the old-yeller treatment.

The companies recently signed a Letter of Intent with the aim of completing a deal for around $150-200 million. However, negotiations fell through in the due diligence process. Lacework was valued at $8.3 billion in 2021.

Microsoft Invests $1.5bn in Abu Dhabi's G42 in a Boost to UAE's AI Ambitions

Microsoft is spreading money around to make sure that it doesn’t miss the AI wave. Abu Dhabi has been investing a lot into Silicon Valley to make sure they reap the benefits of technology, and now they want to bring that ecosystem home.

G42 has received a $1.5 billion investment from Microsoft, which will help to further boost G42's global expansion plans and strengthen the UAE's position as a global technology hub. The expanded partnership will also include the creation of a $1 billion fund to support developers aimed at enhancing the Middle East's technology talent pool, the companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

What Can Language Models Actually Do? Part One: Language Models as Text Compressors

With all of the hype around AI and what defines creativity it is nice to see a well reasoned, and in depth, article on what AI is capable of today, and how humans will need to harness that for true creative endeavors.

This is the first of a five-part series about redefining human creativity in the age of AI.

We need to do a technological dissection of language models, defining what they can do well—and what they can’t. By doing so, we can isolate our own role in the creative process.


Deals that caught our eye.

Akamai Confirms Acquisition of Noname for $450M 

Akamai on Tuesday said it has agreed to buy Noname in a $450 million deal. The deal underscores the ongoing push for more consolidation in the cybersecurity market. Noname was valued at $1 billion at its last private fundraise in December 2021, so it is selling for less than half that price tag.


What we're listening to.

Cyber Thoughts Podcast: Episode 7 with Charles Henderson

In this older episode of our Cyber Thoughts Podcast, Lucas Nelson sits down with Charles Henderson, a cybersecurity virtuoso and the global managing partner and former head of X-Force at IBM. Charles delves into his intriguing path to cybersecurity prominence, from early 'conferences' to leading one of the industry's most storied teams. With anecdotes of his tenure abroad and with IBM's X-Force, Charles provides a firsthand account of the evolving cybersecurity landscape, the strategic importance of demonstrating ROI in security, and the power of mentorship and community in fostering industry growth.


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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