AICULUS, a Singapore-based software security provider, has raised US$670,000 in a seed funding round led by early-stage venture capital firm Cocoon Capital and an angel investor.
The startup earlier participated in ICE71 Accelerate, a three-month accelerator programme for early-stage cybersecurity startups. As part of the programme, it received funding from the ICE71 co-founders – Singtel's venture arm Singtel Innov8, and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Aiculus builds cybersecurity software for businesses that use application programming interfaces, or APIs, which allow two systems to communicate with each other. The company secures operational APIs without having to access confidential user data, maintaining compliance with privacy protection legislation.
In 2019, it secured pilots with large financial corporations based in Singapore and Australia. It was recently awarded a Singapore government innovation grant to contribute to an integrated knowledge base of API threats and API security.
With the additional funding, Aiculus will now grow its technology team and accelerate its growth across Australia and South-east Asia. It is expanding its network of partners over the next 18 months to support its growth within the financial services industry, in addition to other selected sectors using API technology.
Since 2015, more financial institutions have opened up access to parts of their financial infrastructure, driven by open banking regulations adopted across the world. This has also led to an explosion in the use of APIs to facilitate this access, said Aiculus.
Open digital platforms are also happening across all industries due to their ability to connect diverse systems.
"Globally, the API market is growing rapidly at 30 per cent annually, bringing a greater need for proper safeguards to prevent data breaches," said Omaru Maruatona, chief executive and founder of Aiculus.
"Aiculus is addressing a key need for financial services to secure their data and services while adapting to a more open financial infrastructure. Protecting financial institutions also protects the broader national security," said Cocoon Capital managing partner Will Klippgen, adding that the team was impressed with the quality of Aiculus' customers. Mr Klippgen has joined the startup's board of directors.