Sources: Amazon quietly acquired AI security startup for around $20M

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Amazon Web Services appears to be ramping up its security chops. TechCrunch has learned that the e-commerce giant’s cloud services group quietly acquired cyber security firm

The San Diego-based startup, co-founded by a team that includes two former NSA employees, uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze user behavior around a company’s key IP to try to identify and stop targeted attacks before valuable customer data can be swiped.

We were alerted to the acquisition by a tipster, who said the purchase price for was $19 million — a good return, considering that the startup only raised $2.3 million. The tipster also said the team’s 12 employees are relocating to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

Amazon told TechCrunch, in response to our questions about the startup, that it does not comment on rumors and speculation. Co-founders for, contacted about this deal, did not respond to our questions.

However, we have several pieces of evidence that point to an acquisition.

— A second source that wishes to remain anonymous tells us the deal is closed. The source added that the value was closer to $20 million.

— The startup’s lead seed investor, Trinity Ventures, notes as ‘acquired’ on its portfolio page but does not specify by whom.

— Another investor in the startup, Kelly Perdew of LA’s Moonshots Capital, also lists the firm as ‘acquired by undisclosed’ on his LinkedIn page.

— Several former software developers are already listed as employees of AWS on their LinkedIn pages — two commencing at AWS in April 2016.

None of the co-founders list Amazon as a workplace on LinkedIn (not in publicly accessible way, at least), but we’ve been able to uncover evidence that two of the co-founders, Anna Zelenak and Alex Watson (who are married), in 2016 relocated to Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered. A third, Jenny Brinkley, lists Amazon as her employer on a political contributions database. had already been a customer of AWS, featuring in its ‘startup spotlight’ series, which aims to publicize the platform to entrepreneurs who are scaling businesses with limited resources.

The startup’s Twitter account appears to have stopped tweeting in March last year — the same month there was also a change in registration for the…