December 9, 2020

Our Investment in Skyflow: Safeguarding Customer Data with a Privacy API

I am excited to share the news that Canvas Ventures is leading Skyflow’s $17.5M Series A. Anshu Sharma and Prakash Khot of Skyflow have an ambitious vision: to provide a breakthrough technology solution that solves the intractable problem of safeguarding the world’s sensitive customer data from bad actors while simultaneously making that same data easily accessible to the entities that need it. At Canvas, we love to back ambitious founders transforming industries, and we have a thesis that the API economy is at the forefront of enterprise innovation. We believe Skyflow has pioneered an API-based approach to fundamentally secure customer data.

Customer Data is the Biggest Opportunity and the Biggest Risk

Companies who know their customers better are winning. So it’s no surprise that every company is asking for and storing our personal identifiable information (PII) — and then augmenting it with our activities, visits, preferences, transactions, and third-party data. As a result, almost every company from banks, credit agencies, hospitals, and insurance, to even our local coffee shops and grocery stores are holders of our PII.

Meanwhile, very few are equipped to properly secure this sensitive information. The increased sophistication of hackers with the ever more complex application stacks have made it easier than ever for unwanted guests to sit on our network and steal precious information like our social security numbers.

A Breakthrough Solution to a Complex, Intractable Problem

Anshu, former VP of Platform at Salesforce, and Prakash, former EVP and CTO at AthenaHealth, took a radical approach and had a breakthrough. While enterprises typically solve for data privacy and security one system or use-case at a time, Skyflow turns this notion on its head by using an API-centric approach which can be deployed across applications, warehouses, datasets and platforms. With Skyflow, sensitive data lives in a central vault in such a way that enterprises can simultaneously mask the data with zero-trust architecture using strong encryption, tokenization, and smart policy engine, while also serving business needs with a sophisticated API and SDK. Imagine running SQL on encrypted data fast so that multi-party data sharing, clear data residency, and federated machine learning are possible.

“Skyflow has a unique ability to redact, anonymize, and tokenize any data using a policy based approach that leads to quicker deployments, and simpler updates and changes,” observes Fawad Butt, Executive-in-Residence at Canvas Ventures, who served as Chief Data Officer at the UnitedHealth Group and Optum.

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Customers are Looking: The Market is Ready

We met Anshu and Prakash earlier this year and we were in awe of how fast their customer conversations turned from a sales pitch to a signed contract — and a strong revenue stream. One of their early customers was a leading health insurance startup built by the CTO of a top tier bank. He was effusive in his praise of the product Anshu and Prakash had developed. Skyflow has all the key features of technology he had built (at no small cost) at his bank — plus more. The Skyflow Data Vault is a “must have” he told us, for both fintech and health organizations that need to satisfy strict government regulations but still seamlessly serve business needs. We believe that companies of all sizes should have access to technology that allows them to properly secure, and efficiently access, customers’ PII data — and based on the robust early pipeline Skyflow has established, the market is sizable and ready.

Funding Next Cloudflare

The adoption velocity of Skyflow reminded me of the early days of Cloudflare — users were profusely positive about the magical experience of the product. This insight, together with our belief in the team and admiration for their product gave us conviction that we wanted to make an investment as soon as possible, so we asked Anshu and Prakash to let us pre-empt their Series A. And they said Yes!

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We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the entire Skyflow team and appreciate the support from our friends at Foundation Capital, especially Ashu Garg. He is one of the best enterprise investors and led Skyflow’s seed round. We can’t wait to roll up our sleeves to help Anshu and Prakash as they build Skyflow into an enduring company.

And we are hiring!

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