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This AI-powered national security startup has secured $4 million in funding for global expansion


Fivecast, a leading open-source data analytics company has secured a $4 million investment round from Main Sequence Ventures’ CSIRO Innovation Fund and the South Australian Venture Capital Fund (SAVCF).

This round will drive international expansion and product growth for the company’s key product line, Fivecast Insight. 

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.

The company has already enjoyed success with active customers in counter terrorism, serious and organised crime and border protection operations in both Australia and the USA.

How does the startup’s tech help law enforcement?

Fivecast Chief Executive Officer Dr Brenton Cooper said, “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.

“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. 

“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.”

The platform helps intelligence agencies understand the masses of open-source data they have available to them, and extracts potential threats from this data. Automation of this process saves analysts countless hours.

“The Fivecast Insight platform has capability to detect threats by ingesting content across image, text and video media. It presents AI-enabled insights from this mass data that are easy for analysts to consume and understand,” said Dr Cooper. 

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

VP Engineering Dave Blockow, VP Product Development Ross Buglak, CEO Dr. Brenton Cooper, VP Commercial Duane Rivett

What ignited investors’ interest in the startup?

Main Sequence Ventures’ CSIRO Innovation Fund Partner Martin Duursma said that as Australia’s deep tech venture fund, Main Sequence Ventures was excited to lead this investment.

“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.”

Dr Elaine Stead of the South Australian Venture Capital Fund said their contribution from the $50 million Fund was well placed in a start-up driving a world-first innovation.

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.”

Fivecast was founded two years ago as a spin-out from the Data to Decisions Cooperative Research Centre (D2D CRC), a collaboration between Australia’s national security agencies and various research organisations.

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

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

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