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Palo Alto-based startup Akto nets $4.5M to protect APIs from attacks and data breaches

Image credits: Akto

Akto, a California-based plug-n-play API security platform that helps security teams and developers secure their APIs in the development pipeline, has secured a $4.5M seed funding round.

The round was led by Accel India with participation from angel investors Akshay Kothari (co-founder and COO of Notion), Renaud Deraison ( co-founder of Tenable), and Milin Desai (CEO of Sentry), among others.

The company will use the funds to integrate with all CI/CD tools enabling developers to run checks before deploying APIs, provide comprehensive coverage of business logic tests, and improve the platform by building stronger AI/ML capabilities. 

The company aims to enable the 30 million developers and security engineers to secure their APIs in less than 60 seconds.

Earlier this year, Accel raised $650M to back early-stage Indian startups.

Plug-n-play API security platform

Founded by Ankita Gupta and Ankush Jain, Akto is the world’s first plug-n-play API security platform. It helps security teams and developers secure their APIs in the development pipeline. 

In fact, the founders talked to 200+ security engineers across the globe before writing a single line of code

Ankita Gupta, co-founder at Akto, comments, “We learned that the biggest challenge facing teams seeking API security solutions is that it takes months to try them. So we have set out to create a solution that is fast to act and super easy to deploy. The plug-and-play element means that our customers can get an instant inventory of APIs within 2 minutes.”

The platform deploys in less than a minute to create an inventory of APIs, detects PII data leaks and misconfigurations, and continuously tests these APIs for business logic flaws like broken authentication and authorisation in CI/CD pipeline. 

According to the company, Akto is a lightweight API security platform requiring zero manual configuration to get started within a minute. It mirrors traffic from the customer’s cloud – AWS and GCP and provides instant visibility to security teams which otherwise would have taken months of back and forth with developers. 

Akto currently discovers more than 100,000 APIs for its customers around the world. 

Akto is currently securing thousands of APIs of some of the world’s largest fintech and SaaS companies. Further, the company has identified more than 100 leaks with credit card information and found over 1,000 broken auth issues through its robust testing module.

In addition to the API security platform, Akto has developed a free chrome extension called AKTO MINI to generate a quick inventory of APIs and detect PII data leaks without having to deploy anything. 

Ankush Jain, the co-founder at Akto, adds, “I’ve worked for ten years developing big data applications handling billions of data points at Morgan Stanley and CleverTap. Current solutions give high false positives, and to solve this problem, I strongly believe that API security testing must be context-aware and should discover deep business logic vulnerabilities. We apply AI/ML to derive context from analysing the application traffic. We have built an engine that can process Google-scale traffic (10B requests/day) with 0 performance impact in real-time.” 

Prayank Swaroop, Partner, Accel India, comments, “Today APIs are pervasive – they are the glue that enables any software to provide rich functionality. However, till recently, not much thought was given to securing APIs. Securing APIs requires identifying complex patterns of API misuse – moreover, this has to be done in the DevSecOps pipeline following a Shift-Left approach without taking much time from engineering teams. In the current market, all the solutions overwhelm security teams by throwing a lot of false positives. Akto’s approach and tech address all these problems and provide a reliable, scalable, easy-to-install & accurate API security solution. We are very excited to be a part of their journey.”

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