Venture Capital

GV, Ballistic Ventures Lead $27 Million Round in WitnessAI

SAN MATEO — WitnessAI, creator of the first enablement platform for safe AI use, has secured a $27.5 million Series A round, co-led by GV and Ballistic Ventures. The company had previously been incubated by Ballistic Ventures, beginning in 2023.

Generative AI and large language models (LLMs) are seen as a transformative technology for enabling innovation across every business function, yet few enterprises have actually adopted it fully. A recent survey showed that, while 75% of enterprises have experimented with generative AI, only 9% have actually deployed it widely. Privacy and governance issues were among the top barriers cited. Common AI governance issues include:

  • Lack of visibility – With new AI chatbots and projects appearing on the web each day, IT organizations are often unable to track which AI systems their employees are accessing, and what employees are doing with those systems. An internal WitnessAI survey indicated that nearly 90% of CISOs struggle to get a clear picture of employee AI usage.

  • Lack of control – AI presents a new set of privacy and compliance challenges, such as preventing LLM training data from one client from being used to serve a different client, ensuring that employees can’t illegally access customer data within a private LLM, or blocking company IP from being shared with a public LLM such as ChatGPT.

  • Lack of protection – LLMs create a new attack surface, putting enterprises at risk of data or financial loss. Prompt injection, jailbreaking and hallucination are a few of the common security risks from LLMs in use today.

WitnessAI addresses these challenges to enable safe, effective use of AI within the enterprise. The WitnessAI Secure AI Enablement Platform includes modules for observability of AI use, policy enforcement and governance of AI use, and protection of employees, customers and enterprise data from AI use. The company will begin early deployments in June 2024 and is already working with more than 20 design partners across multiple industries.

“Building a safe AI enablement platform that works at enterprise scale requires a purpose-built team with expertise in AI and ML, red and blue teaming, and web-scale platform deployment,” said Rick Caccia, WitnessAI CEO. “We’ve built something that works in the most demanding environments, including global organizations and across clouds. The response from CISOs we’ve spoken with has been tremendous.”

WitnessAI is deployed as an isolated, cloud-based instance for each customer, encrypted with their own keys to ensure data privacy and regulatory separation. The platform intercepts activity between users and LLMs, applies control policies, and ensures data protection and user safety – all with millisecond latency and requiring nothing to be installed on the users’ devices. Achieving this requires an integrated design that blends new techniques in machine learning, offensive and defense security for AI activity, and enterprise-scale web services deployment.

“For most enterprises, the AI journey is just beginning,” said Karim Faris, General Partner at GV. “The need for guardrails around AI use, including visibility and control of that use, will only grow, and GV is excited to partner with the WitnessAI team as they make AI safe for the enterprise.”