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Opaque raises $9.5M in seed round

Opaque is a new startup born out of Berkeley’s RISELab. It announced a $9.5 million seed round to secure sensitive data in the cloud. Opaque raise the money to be able to securely access and work with sensitive data. Intel Capital led the investment with participation by Race Capital, The House Fund, and FactoryHQ.

The company helps customers work with secure data in the cloud. It also makes sure the data they are working on is not being exposed to cloud providers, other research participants, or anyone else says company president Raluca Ada Popa.

What we do is we use this very exciting hardware mechanism called Enclave, which operates deep down in the processor. it’s a physical black box. The decryption happens there only. So even if somebody has administrative privileges in the cloud, they can only see encrypted data

Raluca Ada Popa

Thus, according to the company co-founder Ion Stoica, Opaque resolves two conflicts with data. The growing need of companies to make use of the data and people’s need for privacy.

What solution Opaque offers?

The company describes the solution as “a novel combination of two key technologies layered on top of state-of-the-art cloud security. The two technologies being secure hardware enclaves and cryptographic fortification.”

This enables customers to work with data. For example to build machine learning models. That is, without exposing the data to others while generating meaningful results.

Popa gives an example of its usefulness in real life. For example, this could be helpful for hospitals working together on cancer research, who want to find better treatment options without exposing a given hospital’s patient data to other hospitals.

Humorous mobile cloud computing conceptual image.

Investor’s Take

Mark Rostick, vice president and senior managing director at lead investor Intel Capital says his firm has been working with the founders since the startup’s earliest days, recognizing the potential of this solution to help companies find complex solutions even when there are multiple organizations involved sharing sensitive data.

Enterprises struggle to find value in data across silos due to confidentiality and other concerns. Confidential computing unlocks the full potential of data by allowing organizations to extract insights from sensitive data while also seamlessly moving data to the cloud without compromising security or privacy. Opaque bridges the gap between data security and cloud scale and economics, thus enabling inter-organizational and intra-organizational collaboration.

Mark Rostick, Vice President at Intel Capital

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