Our Investment in Prevoty

We’re pleased to announce our investment in Prevoty. Located in Santa Monica, CA, Prevoty is building a web application security platform that protects against targeted code injection attacks.

The Problem

Traditionally, security has been handled at the network layer with a one-size-fits-all approach that attempts to detect and remediate all threats. However, commonly used firewalls and web application firewalls have two major flaws:

  1. Since they rely on historical attack data and outdated rule sets to recognize and block incoming threats, they cannot detect new and modified attacks.
  2. These security solutions sit outside of the web application and cannot contextualize the objectives of the data passing through and how users are interacting with the application.

A constant stream of destructive web application layer attacks regularly compromise major websites, resulting in identity theft, malware and botting, information breaches, and/or brand defacement. In 2013 alone, NBCLinkedInYahooThe PentagonLivingSocialToyota and Tumblr were all victims of code injection attacks.

The Solution

Prevoty is a cloud-based security company protecting an organization’s internal and external web application environment and its three main components: the network, the database, and the application.

Prevoty’s security modules are built within the contexts of each main component and are thus uniquely positioned to handle threats native to each context – from cross-site scripting (XSS) and cross-site request forgery (XSRF) to SQL injections, brute force, and DDoS attacks.

Their technology does not rely on past definitions, signatures, or blacklists. Instead, it understands how content will be presented to users or saved to the database (before it actually does) and determines whether content being handled by an application is safe.

The Team

Prevoty has an all-star team which includes co-founders Kunal Anand and Julien Bellanger. Kunal is the former director of technology at the BBC who has held lead security and software engineering positions at MySpace and NASA. Julien is an entrepreneur with extensive technology B2B business development experience.

The Value

Security prevention and detection solutions like the ones offered by the team at Prevoty are especially timely given the increase in volume and complexity of recent attacks. Attacks have become so prevalent that government proposed regulations requiring companies to disclose when they’ve been hacked or suffered a data breach (US, Europe) are becoming common.

Prevoty’s goal is to provide value beyond the one-size-fits-all security box, giving users flexible configuration options and actionable insights. Their technology can protect a variety of businesses and organizations (including e-commerce sites, media companies, government entities, and banking institutions) as well as the everyday blogger or content publisher.

Prevoty’s products can either be cloud-based or deployed as virtual machines in the customer environment, and can work in tandem with existing security suites to add a crucial layer of protection.

If you are a site administrator interested in protecting your web application, sign up for or live-test their product at https://www.prevoty.com/smartfilter.

If you are a WordPress blogger, prevent code-injections without limiting user engagement and dynamic content by downloading Prevoty’s security plugin at http://www.wordpress.org/plugins/smartfilter.

We are happy to be investing alongside two great LA funds, Plus Capital & Double M Partners, and we’re excited to welcome the Prevoty team to the Launchpad LA family.

Our Investment in Melon

We are excited to announce our investment in Melon. Three weeks ago, their Kickstarter campaign launched and eclipsed their $100,000 goal in less than 3 days. It’s still going strong, and they just passed their stretch goal of $250,000 (ps there are 3 days left to preorder if you haven’t already!).

Wearable tech and health informatics are currently of great interest to investors, entrepreneurs, and consumers. David Lee of SV Angel recently identified “Health Informatics,” the intersection of software and biology, as a “megatrend” his firm will be investing in heavily. When we met the founders of Melon in early February, we were immediately interested in their business.


Melon is an EEG (electroencephalography) powered headband with an accompanying mobile app which allows wearers to measure, understand, and improve their mental focus. It’s rare we meet companies with such an ambitious goal, and it’s even more rare we come across young founders who are already uniquely positioned and prepared to tackle the challenge they are going after. Here’s what the Melon team has done right, and why we believe the excitement around their launch is more than justified:

Founders – Arye and Laura met while studying cognitive science and computer science at Pomona College. They quickly recognized that EEG technology, while readily available and heavily used in research labs and medical settings, had never been brought to consumers. Seeing its power first-hand in aiding and understanding the human brain, they dropped out of college with one year left to pursue their passion and make this technology more accessible.


Team – One of the strongest signals we can pick up on is when a founding team is able to put together a team of talented people who are willing to work for less than market rate because they’re passionate about what the company is building. Arye and Laura quickly assembled a team of experienced hardware engineers and an artificial intelligence expert to to fill the gaps where they lacked experience.

Manufacturing – Chris Dixon recently wrote about the emergence of hardware startups and the challenges that still exist.

“Many hardware startups stumble when they try to go from prototype to large-scale manufacturing. There is no AWS-equivalent for hardware. To get manufacturing right, entrepreneurs often end up living in China for months and even years.”

Arye and Laura both moved to China for 6 months to figure this out before coming to Launchpad.

Big Vision – It’s been surprising to see the walled-garden approach that several of the first movers in the wearable tech space have adopted. Only recently have some opened up an API for third-party applications, and most of them limited in doing so. From the beginning, Arye and Laura have stood by the idea that the real power of what they’re building is the opportunity to see what other people want to build for it.

Design / Branding – As several others (Tom Tunguz, Jason Calacanis, etc.) have written about, a beautiful product and branding are no longer a feature, they are a prerequisite. We have been consistently impressed by their creative instincts and talent on both the software and hardware aspects of their business.

Validation – Within any trending sector of a market there will be some products that consumers latch onto and some they don’t. With very little data and history on a consumer product that measures brainwaves and focus it is hard to predict what the future holds for Melon. But with such an amazing team, product, and overwhelming demand on Kickstarter, we are hopeful that Melon will revolutionize the way people understand themselves and their brains.