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Shift5 Bags $20M Round to Defend Transportation Assets from Cyberattacks

October 14, 2021

Shift5, an OT cybersecurity company that defends military platforms and commercial transportation systems from cyberattacks, raised $20 million in Series A funding to provide enhanced cybersecurity and operational intelligence for today’s commercial fleet operators and military platforms. The round was led by 645 Ventures, with participation from Squadra Ventures, General Advance, and First In.

Operational technology underpins critical infrastructure, enabling it to run continuously and reliably. Transportation fleets — aircrafts, railways, military vehicles — rely on OT to move millions of people, power the supply chain, and defend national security. However, legacy OT was developed before the emergence of widespread digital connectivity and modern standards for cybersecurity, resulting in a lack of comprehensive visibility into data and resilience against cyberattacks. Today, digital components and control networks are deeply embedded in planes, trains, and military vehicles, creating an attack surface that remains unsecured. With mobility and uptime requirements, securing OT that enables fleets to run is a significant challenge for CISOs charged with their defense. Shift5 protects OT powering a critical and unprotected part of defense and transportation infrastructure from cyberattack and operational failures by detecting cyber threats and equipment malfunction that could lead to costly operational failures and catastrophic risk.

Led by a team of founding members of the U.S. Army Cyber Command and proven cybersecurity leadership, Shift5 was built on the premise that the infrastructure powering the United States’ transportation systems is inherently vulnerable, unique from other industrial control systems, and requires a novel and rigorous approach to defense.

“The increasing rate of cyber physical attacks against national infrastructure has exposed the digital insecurity of the U.S. systems that underpin modern society. Successful cyberattacks triggered gasoline and meat shortages and public transportation outages, impacting the daily lives of thousands and incurring downstream costs to impacted businesses,” said Josh Lospinoso, co-founder and CEO, Shift5. “Defending the cyber-physical attack surface of planes, trains, and tanks is a national security imperative. This fresh financing represents significant investment in hiring world-class talent, advancing Shift5’s platform, and bringing cybersecurity to the trillions of dollars in fleet assets moving the world.”

Shift5’s funding occurs on top of significant government contract work that has fueled business and technology growth, including a new contract with the U.S. Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) to configure Shift5’s commercial technology on Army combat vehicles. The company is trusted to provide enhanced cybersecurity and operational intelligence to protect today’s commercial fleet operators and military platforms, including the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and several of the largest U.S. passenger rail systems.

“When we talk about defending OT for transportation infrastructure assets, it’s with the understanding that the margin for error is miniscule. Shift5’s roots in military spaces means these stakes were present from the get-go,” said Joe Lea, President, Shift5. “Such standards have enabled us to work with like-minded partners in the federal space, and have increasingly opened the doors to conversations with leading commercial rail and airline security officers. Our discussions are similar: transportation is infrastructure that drives global economic performance, that millions of people rely on daily, and that defends the nation; lacking the ability to defend it is unacceptable.”

Shift5’s data-driven solution integrates directly onto existing vehicle platforms, collecting and enriching data from on-board digital components and continuously monitoring data streams for security and operational anomalies. Its analytics platform provides cybersecurity intrusion detection, smarter maintenance, and improved operational intelligence for fleet operators. Further capabilities allow for firmware and configuration attestation and the ability to protect assets by neutralizing malicious or corrupted payloads. Shift5 also provides specialized services for operational technology cybersecurity areas, such as vulnerability research and capability development.

“Shift5 represents the best of what 645 looks for in an investment: a talented, driven and experienced team building a differentiated technology company to solve a critical and growing problem,” said Nnamdi Okike, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, 645 Ventures. “The challenge of monitoring and securing commercial and government fleets, vehicles, and systems against cyberattack and malfunction is one of the most important in cybersecurity today. We’re excited to partner closely with them as they scale the business.”

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