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Cyber in focus as IAG boosts UpGuard funding

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IAG’s Firemark Ventures has increased its investment in cybersecurity platform UpGuard as the start-up sees further demand for its offering due to rising business concerns about data breaches.

UpGuard has raised an additional $US19 million ($25 million) through a funding round, with support from existing investors IAG, Pelion Venture Partners, Square Peg Capital and August Capital.

“As businesses adopt digital, we see more ways that UpGuard can play a role in making our customers’ digital world safer,” Firemark Ventures Managing Partner Scott Gunther said.

“We look forward to continuing our investment and partnership with UpGuard as we work together to explore new ways to help customers mitigate and reduce their cyber risk.”

IAG acquired a 2% equity stake in UpGuard during a previous fundraising in 2016. The latest Series B-1 round, in which IAG was one of the lead participants, brings UpGuard’s total funding from investors to $US45 million ($58 million).

UpGuard helps businesses assess and monitor third-party vendor risks, improve their security and prevent breaches. The company says it has worked with organisations including the New York Stock Exchange, NSW Government, and Leadlease.

IAG’s intermediated business in New Zealand, NZI, last year began offering SMEs free access to an UpGuard automated tool that monitors for vulnerabilities.

UpGuard says its sales have risen nearly 129% year-on-year since 2016, it has brought three standalone products to market and strong customer growth is expected this year.

“With third party breaches and supply chain leaks becoming a nearly daily occurrence, monitoring your vendors has become absolutely critical to anyone who manages business risk,” Co-founder and Co-CEO Mike Baukes said.

Firemark Ventures, IAG’s venture capital arm, lists “technology in support of a safer future” as one of its four areas of focus.

The unit’s investments also include rural intelligence start-up Digital Agriculture Services (DAS), Airtasker, Life360 and PropertySafe.