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AI-powered national security firm Fivecast raises $4m

03 Jul 2019
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With $4 million investment and a drive to solve national security problems, Australian open source company Fivecast plans to go global.

The company, which was founded in 2017 as a spin-out from Australia’s Data to Decisions Cooperative Research Centre. That centre was a collaboration between national security agencies and research organisations.

Fivecast Insight uses machine learning to extract insights from open-source data (such as social media) to derive knowledge for customers in segments such as law enforcement, defence and national intelligence.

So far, the company has worked with customers across Australia and the United States in areas such as border protection, counter terrorism, and organised crime.

Fivecast successfully raised a $4 million investment from Main Sequence Ventures’ CSIRO Innovation Fund and the South Australian Venture Capital Fund.

“Finding the tell-tale signs of an emerging threat online is a massive challenge, akin to finding the right needle in a very large haystack,” says Fivecast chief executive officer Dr Brenton Cooper.

“Through Fivecast Insight, we have developed a world-leading solution to a global security problem. Using AI, the product generates efficiencies in the collection and analysis of big data that simply haven't been possible before now.”

Intelligence agencies are now able to understand masses of open source data and discover potential threats based on that data. It’s also automated, which cuts down analysts’ workloads.

“Analysts can then comprehend the collective content and behaviour of a group of related, or similar entities, all monitored in real time.”

“This is incredibly important when we consider our clients are often performing time-critical law enforcement and national security activities; efficiencies in this realm are game changing on a global scale. The investment today helps us bring this potentially life-saving technology to more countries around the world,” continues Cooper.

Speaking about the investment, Main Sequence Ventures’ CSIRO Innovation Fund partner Martin Duursma is excited to back Fivecast.

“We particularly like that Fivecast has had the benefit of a strong research program that engaged with customers from day one. This research is what became Fivecast and now has a strong competitive edge in the market through their world leading machine learning algorithms.”

South Australian Venture Capital Fund’s Dr Elaine Stead adds that the investment was well placed.

“Fivecast is a perfect example of what can be produced at the intersection of local technology driven industries like defence and a thriving deep technology ecosystem - high growth, global businesses that will retain and create skilled jobs and expertise in the State.”

This $4 million investment builds on previous support from D2D CRC and funding from AusIndustry Accelerating Commercialisation and the South Australian Government. 

Fivecast was recently awarded the CRC Association 2019 Excellence in Innovation Award. The company also received the CIVSEC Innovation Award for Cyber Security in 2018 and the D2D CRC.