Microsoft has invested in a startup based in Boston and Tel Aviv, Israel, that aims to make corporate payments more secure.
M12, the Microsoft’s venture capital arm, led a $15 million Series A round for nsKnox, along with Viola Ventures. The startup makes technology that allows organizations to validate payment authenticity, verify sender and receiver, and identify and prevent manipulations.
In a press release, nsKnox cited a study where 78 percent of companies surveyed were victims of payment fraud in 2017. The company says its technology helps organizations defend against cyber fraud, internal fraud, social engineering and data manipulation attempts.
“The evolving nature of cybercrime creates a perpetual challenge for businesses to detect and mitigate fraudulent behavior, which costs corporations significant amounts of money every year,” Lior Litwak, principal at M12 said in a statement. “nsKnox’s corporate payment solution solves a critical business issue at scale, saving businesses the time, money and headache that result from fraudulent threats. We look forward to being a part of nsKnox’s journey as they grow and expand.”
M12 is made up of veteran Microsoft employees and venture capitalists, and in addition to making traditional VC investments, it is tasked with strengthening ties between the tech giant and startup communities. M12, which has offices in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, London and Tel Aviv has invested in more than 70 startups, and it recently expanded its map to India.
Security is one of M12’s points of emphasis, along with areas like artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, cloud computing, software as a service, data analytics and Internet of Things.
Of nsKnox’s 23 employees, three of them have ties to Microsoft, including its CEO Nir Tenzer. Before joining nsKnox, Tenzer spent 11 years at Microsoft, serving most recently as chief operating officer and chief marketing officer of its South Africa offices, and he also held executive positions in the tech giant’s Israeli branch.