Edgeless Systems, an IT security startup from Bochum, raises a €1.45 million seed round from Acequia Capital (US), Inventures (DE), SIX Group AG (CH), Venture Creator (DE), and individual angel investors. The cybersecurity company is on the mission to build the open-source software stack for cloud-native confidential computing. The company was officially founded in Bochum, by two former students at Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security, in April 2020. Dr. Felix Schuster, formerly worked as a researcher at Microsoft, and Thomas Tendyck, worked as an engineer at G-Data.
Confidential computing combines hardware and software to make computing more trustworthy. It is a set of strict technical measures that keep data encrypted while it is being used in the cloud, overcoming a major barrier to cloud adoption in business. With Edgeless Systems’ software, everyone can run cloud apps and do computing as normal, while everything stays encrypted.
In recent months confidential computing created lots of excitement in the security community and beyond. Gartner and Forbes, for example, both named confidential computing as one of the most promising trends for cloud security. Furthermore, some of the largest American and Chinese tech companies and a couple of startups, including Edgeless Systems, have joined forces in the Confidential Computing Consortium to drive adoption and define standards for this new space.
Nevertheless, confidential computing is still a new space and lacks software in general and in particular DevOps/dev tools. Edgeless Systems aims to fill this gap with easy-to-use and scalable open-source software: the EGo toolkit enables developers to develop confidential cloud-native apps the way they are used to in the Go programming language. The Marblerun framework enables engineers to manage and scale confidential apps in the cloud. The team is currently working on the release of its third product EdgelessDB, the first relational database build for confidential computing. While current databases can at most encrypt data at rest, EdgelessDB keeps it encrypted at all times and takes security to unprecedented levels. About Edgeless’s open-source strategy, co-Founder and CEO Dr. Felix Schuster notes:
We strongly believe in the open-source idea. There is a special connection between open source and confidential computing: a key aspect of confidential computing is verifiability of computations. This can only really work if we have an open-source software stack.
The startup has already shown traction when it hosted the Open Confidential Computing Conference (OC3) in March 2021 with over 700 attendees and 14 speakers from top tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba Cloud. In keeping with this, Stephen Heller from Intel says:
Confidential computing is blowing up and Edgeless is at the forefront of this development. We are thrilled to have them in our first batch at Intel Ignite and strongly believe in their success.
Before this first investment round, Edgeless Systems was funded with €1.2m in R&D grants from the German government. The new investment will be used to expand the 12-member team on both engineering and business site. Furthermore, the startup will expand its office capacities in its hometown Bochum but still aims to build a hybrid workforce consisting of on-site and remote colleagues.