Many great ideas spring from founders experiencing a real pain point firsthand and this is certainly the case with UK-founded Tessian. Co-founders Tim Sadler, Ed Bishop, and Tom Adams met as engineering students at Imperial College before starting their careers in investment banking. While working at some of the world’s largest financial institutions, they saw that there was a real need to protect companies against sensitive information being sent to the wrong person via email.  

Security discussions back then were focused on bad actors exploiting network vulnerabilities and the belief that companies were most likely to lose data via hacks. However, misaddressed emails were the number one data security incident reported to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). This remains the same today, with data emailed to the wrong recipient making up almost a fifth (19%) of incidents reported to the ICO in Q4 2022. With more than half (58%) of employees admitting that they’ve sent an email to the wrong person in a recent Tessian report, the majority of us are likely familiar with that feeling of anxiety after hitting send and then realizing information has landed in the wrong inbox. 

When we first met Tim, Ed, and Tom back in 2017, we were impressed by their strong technical and commercial understanding and the way in which they were applying machine intelligence to gain a greater understanding of how humans communicate. By analyzing enterprise email networks to understand normal and abnormal email-sending patterns and behaviors, Tessian’s machine intelligence technology could detect anomalies in outgoing emails and warn users about potential mistakes ahead of the email being sent. 

While the product’s initial focus was on information being emailed to the wrong recipient, the team’s vision for the future presented a huge opportunity ahead. The Tessian team’s goal was to secure the human layer in the modern workplace, but to also create a new category of security software that addressed the 90% of enterprise data breaches caused by human error. With the Accel team’s deep understanding of the security landscape and our partnerships with many category-defining security companies, including CrowdStrike, Netskope, Snyk, Sysdig, and Tenable, we couldn’t think of a better team to partner with at their seed round. When Tessian announced its Series A just over a year later, the team had already achieved impressive growth and secured a number of blue chip customer wins, including Schroders, Man Group, Dentons,  and more than 70 of the UK’s leading law firms.

Today, Tessian is a leader in complete cloud email security, has expanded its team globally, and partners with more than 450 enterprises globally. The company continues to help customers automatically prevent data loss over email, stopping 20,000 suspected data loss events each week. Last month alone, Tessian ensured:

  • More than 4,300 misdirected emails were stopped
  • Almost 73,000 sensitive emails to unauthorized accounts were flagged
  • Almost 405,000 malicious emails were detected

The impressive talent, technology, and market opportunity that provided us with the conviction to partner with Tim, Ed, and Tom, and the Tessian team at the seed stage makes the company the ideal solution to join forces with Proofpoint. Both companies recognize that people are not only an organization’s greatest assets, but their biggest security risk. With Proofpoint’s people-centric approach to security and Tessian’s focus on protecting the human layer, the two teams are perfectly matched. Congratulations to the Tessian team and thank you for letting us be a part of your journey!