Upstream Security Raises $9M to Secure Autonomous Vehicles

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Upstream Security, a Herzliya, Israel automotive cybersecurity startup, announced Dec. 13 that it had raised $9 million in a Series A round of financing headed by Charles River Ventures. Glilot Capital Partners and Maniv Mobility also participated in the investment, which follows a $2 million initial funding round in June.

Upstream specializes in protecting connected and self-driving vehicles from cyber-threats. The company's cloud-based platform can detect anomalies using machine learning and real-time analytics, protecting vehicles against potential attacks.

Cars are not the typical target for cyber-attackers, but in 2015, cybersecurity researchers proved it was possible by remotely hacking a Jeep Cherokee. The concern is that as vehicles grow increasingly connected and tech-laden, hackers will take aim at them, with potentially lethal results.

In the Jeep hack, researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were able to cut the brakes on the SUV, capturing headlines and forcing Chrysler, Jeep's parent company, to recall 1.4 million vehicles.

"The automotive industry is going through a massive disruption," said Upstream CEO and cofounder Yoav Levy, in a statement. "Consequently, security solutions for the car are undergoing rapid advances at an unprecedented rate. We're using emerging technologies like AI and machine learning to carry out an evolutionary leap in cybersecurity for passenger and commercial vehicles."

Upstream plans to open offices in Silicon Valley and open sales offices in the U.S. and Europe in the wake of the new funding. The company also has plans to expand its research and development efforts and bulk up its security research and engineering teams.

"Riding the wave of momentum from our recent company launch and early customer wins, this new investment round further validates our technology and approach, and will fuel our commitment to be the leading force of innovation in security for connected and autonomous transportation," Levy added.

Vehicle security is increasingly the industry's scrutiny, and in some cases, some investments.

In July, Karamba Security raised $12 million for its Carwall platform, which prevents attacks on electronic control units (ECUs) in cars. Also this past summer, the U.K.'s Department for Transport issued cybersecurity guidance for autonomous vehicles.

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