Cyber threats are a significant concern for businesses, with the SMB market especially vulnerable. Israeli start-up Sayata Labs hopes its partnership with AXA will help bring better cyber risk assessment to the SMB market.

cyber risk sayata labs

Israeli start-up Sayata Labs today announced seed funding of $6.5m (£4.9m) and a partnership with AXA to launch a tool for assessing cyber risk when insuring small and medium-sized businesses.

The company, based in the emerging tech hub of Tel Aviv, claims its assessment technology provides insurers and brokers with extensive knowledge of cyber risk by analysing a range of data sources linked to previous data breaches.

It says this is a capability currently non-existent for underwriters working in small business (SMB) insurance. 

The funding was led by Israeli holding company Elron Electronics, which is located in the same city.

Sayata Labs co-founder and CEO Ashaf Lifshitz said: “Sayata is pioneering a new approach to cyber insurance underwriting with an enterprise-grade solution and technology never before available to the SMB market.

sayata labs

“Our proprietary solution thoroughly assesses a company’s risk exposure, providing unmatched visibility to facilitate superior risk selection and modelling so insurance carriers can grow their SMB portfolio profitably and with confidence.”

Guillaume Borie, CEO of AXA Next, the insurance giant’s innovation strategy wing, believes Sayata’s technology will improve underwriting risk selection and enhance client cyber protection.

He said: “Protecting our clients against cyber risks is one of our top priorities, which is why AXA partners with trusted, best-in-class solution providers.

“With Sayata, we can both improve our risk selection, as well as advance our clients’ cyber security protection, which helps us partner with our clients effectively.”  


What is Sayata Labs?

Sayata Labs is a data analytics company focusing its products on the cyber insurance sector so providers can better manage their risk and increase profitability.

The company was co-founded by Mr Lifshitz and VP of products Iddan Golomb.

Mr Lifshitz is a former consultant at Boston Consulting Group – a global management consultancy – where he advised clients on their business strategies.

The start-up’s team also includes chief technology officer Avishay Maya, a lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a position he’s held since 2013, as well as Michal Kwiecinski, former CEO of AXA Polska, the company’s Polish branch.  

Mr Kwiecinski holds an advisory role, along with Pierre-Olivier Desaulle, former CEO of Hiscox Europe.

sayata labs

Why the SMB cyber market?

Cyber vulnerability is a key concern for all businesses, as PwC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey shows.

According to the survey of CEOs across 91 regions, 30% said they were “extremely concerned” about cyber threats.

The threat is especially pronounced for SMEs, however, with a 2018 Ponemon Institute report showing that 67% of cyber-attacks were targeted at SMBs.

The report also stated that only 28% of SMBs rated their ability to mitigate threats, vulnerabilities and attacks as “highly effective.”

Sayata isn’t the only company looking to exploit this market opportunity with a risk management approach, with cyber insurtech Arceo AI launching in mid-February.

Arceo AI has Sir Iain Lobban, former director of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), on its board of advisers, along with several others with a national security background.