Thomson Reuters Invests In Data Security Firm Enveil

| About: Thomson Reuters (TRI)


Thomson Reuters has invested in data startup Enveil's $4 million financing round.

Enveil has developed data security technologies that avoid the need for data decryption for search and analytics use.

The deal likely provides Thomson with product pilot opportunities as well as potential investment return or acquisition possibilities if Enveil grows its offerings and business.

Quick Take

Thomson Reuters (TRI) has invested in a $4 million financing round for data security startup Enveil.

Enveil has created what it calls ‘Never Decrypt’ data security capabilities that reduce security gaps during data search and analytics operations.

Thomson Reuters is interested in Enveil for its internal data security initiatives as well as the likely potential for an inside track to acquisition should Enveil’s technologies catch on.

Investee Company

Fulton, Maryland-based Enveil was founded in 2016 to develop improved data security through homomorphic encryption technologies that don’t require data to be decrypted to perform frequent search and analytics queries.

Management is headed by founder and CEO Ellison Anne Williams, who was previously a Senior Researcher at the National Security Agency [NSA].

Below is a brief video of Enveil’s approach to data security:

(Source: RSA Conference)

Enveil sells two services:

  • ZeroReveal Compute Fabric - Enveil server and client app proprietary security system
  • ZeroReveal Search - Secure searches on encrypted and unencrypted data

The firm targets its system at five primary industries: Financial Services, Healthcare, Data Monetization, Audit & Compliance and Cloud Security.

Investment Terms and Rationale

Along with Thomson Reuters, other investors in the current round included Bloomberg Beta and Data Tribe.

Valuation in the round was not disclosed. This was Enveil’s first known round of financing since its founding in 2016.

TRI is interested in Enveil’s solution for its internal purposes and I presume to pilot these technologies within its organization in addition to providing investment capital.

As Bob Schukai, Global Head of Design, Digital Identity Solutions for TRI stated in the deal announcement,

Thomson Reuters always looks for new ways to enhance data security across our product portfolio. Understanding these rapidly evolving challenges, we are pleased to support Enveil and its efforts to secure the full data lifecycle.

Thomson Reuters has not been a very active corporate investor in technology startups, investing in only a handful of companies.

The graphic below shows its investment history by various metrics (click to enlarge):

(Source: Mattermark)

Thomson has focused its investment activity almost exclusively on software-enabled startups in enterprise, analytics, mobile, payment and banking spaces.

Notably, it hasn’t been afraid to invest in early stages, probably due to its interest in helping startups with pilot projects in return for first-look access to new technologies of interest.

TRI has invested geographically in the areas of the Northeast and Bay Area exclusively.

While the investment in Enveil may be small in absolute terms, for a data-centric company such as Thomson, it makes a lot of sense.

TRI gets inside access to the technology, can potentially help shape Enveil’s future and if the technology delivers as promised, it gets a more secure data environment.

It also stands to gain the potential for financial return if Enveil becomes a bigger company or have an inside track to acquire Enveil should it gain traction in the marketplace.

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