London-based Metomic, a next generation data security solution for protecting sensitive data, has raised £16.6m ($20m) in Series A funding.

The round was led by Evolution Equity Partners with participation from Resonance and Connect Ventures.

The investment will be used for US expansion efforts and research and development initiatives.

It will also allow Metomic to double down on its AI technology, furthering its mission to enable safer, more compliant data sharing across collaborative software-as-a-service (SaaS) ecosystems.

Rich Vibert, CEO and co-founder of Metomic, said:  “Security, IT and compliance teams have no visibility into the data employees are storing and sharing across third-party SaaS applications. They are suffering from alert fatigue and are overwhelmed with the amount of notifications they have to address.

“By triaging critical risks and putting remediation in the hands of employees, we give security teams the most effective, scalable, and modern way to protect their most vulnerable data, without getting in the way of high-value work.

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“Evolution Equity are great partners for Metomic. As cybersecurity investors, they not only knew the space, but immediately understood the business value of our technology. We connected on the need to protect information at the data level inside SaaS, one of the fastest growing niches in cybersecurity today.”

In the last 18 months, Metomic’s automated platform has prevented more than two million data leak threats lurking in SaaS ecosystems.

Even more astonishing, it has detected hundreds of millions of sensitive data points within SaaS apps and found that 99 per cent of the sensitive data does not need to be there or is accessible to people who shouldn’t have access.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, partner of Evolution Equity Partners, said: “Businesses adopt SaaS applications at a rapid pace. While SaaS tools increase employees’ productivity and enable collaboration among colleagues and partners, IT security teams have limited visibility and control over sensitive data stored within these apps.

“Metomic gets it. We believe their approach to SaaS data security can fill the gap by helping security teams control sensitive data and remain in compliance with regulations.”

Security, privacy and compliance teams use Metomic’s no-code workflows to automate data policies across their SaaS applications. This includes the ability to deliver real-time notifications directly to employees when they have uploaded sensitive data into the wrong environment, essentially enabling a human firewall across the organization.

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Metomic’s funding round comes at a critical time as the SaaS ecosystem continues to grow. Research shows that SaaS app usage was up 18 per cent last year, with businesses using, on average, more than 130 SaaS tools across the organisation.

Metomic is giving organisations visibility and control of their data across collaborative SaaS applications, including Google Apps, Slack, Jira, and Zendesk by connecting to the data layer of these popular work tools.

It allows security professionals to see what data is being stored, where it is, and who has access to it. Metomic’s automated processes are having a ground-breaking effect on how modern companies protect sensitive data at scale.

Currently, Metomic has customers across Europe and North America, with 50 per cent of its customers based in the US. It plans to quadruple employee headcount by the end of the year, with its sales and marketing functions headquartered in the US.