Fontinalis invests in driverless car cybersecurity firm

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Romulus — Fontinalis Partners LLC, the venture capital firm founded by Bill Ford Jr., announced Thursday an investment in an Israel-based company that develops cybersecurity systems for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Karamba Security, headquartered in Hod Hasharon, Israel, said Fontinalis led its latest $2.5 million round of funding, which also included existing investors YL Ventures and GlenRock.

The financial contribution is the latest in a string of investments Fontinalis has made in the future of mobility. Earlier this year, it invested for the second time in nuTonomy, a company that recently launched driverless taxis in Singapore. In 2010, it funded Parkmobile, a company that specializes in paying for parking remotely.

“We’re delighted to have Fontinalis Partners as our newest investor,” Ami Dotan, Karamba Security CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. “As a fund dedicated to next-generation mobility solutions, they’ve seen every cybersecurity solution out there. Their investment in Karamba Security is a testament that our solutions, including our newly announced Autonomous Security product suite, are best suited to meet the security demands of the industry.”

Karamba’s software locks down an autonomous vehicle’s electronic controls like brakes and airbags, making it difficult for hackers to override factory settings. It also has a new in-memory technology that autonomously blocks memory-based attacks, like a recent Tesla hack where a group remotely controlled the brakes from 12 miles away.

“Its approach is the ideal way to harden vehicles against cyberattacks, fulfilling the industry need for preventing hacking attempts with zero false positives and no developer intervention, and we believe there will be consistent demand across the automotive ecosystem for Karamba’s approach,” said Chris Thomas, a founder and partner at Fontinalis Partners. He will join the startup’s board.

(313) 222-2401

Twitter: @MikeMartinez_DN