Presto Ventures invests in Belgium’s OutKept during €500k round to prevent phishing with the help of ethical phishers

Ghent-based OutKept, a cybersecurity company, has secured €500K in a Seed round of funding led by Presto Ventures and Business angels (BAN Flanders).

OutKept, a Belgium-based cybersecurity company that helps to prevent phishing, has raised €500,000 in a seed round from Presto Ventures and Business angels from BAN Flanders as an angel investors. The investment will be used to scale the platform internationally. 

Founded in 2020 by Simon Bauwens and Dieter Tine, OutKept is a phishing simulation platform that addresses human cyber risk for organisations. The company’s approach involves automated, high-quality phishing simulations developed by an open community of ethical phishers. These ethical contributors are incentivised with bounties, similar to bug bounty programmes, for successfully crafting phishing emails.

Co-founder Bauwens says, “We started OutKept with the belief that cybersecurity is a real cat-and-mouse game, and so you better have many cats on your side.”

“Community-based models and bounty rewards have proven themselves to be highly effective in cybersecurity, and with OutKept, we bring this logic to phishing prevention. Our phishing simulations are powered by a community of ethical phishers, some of them already leveraging the latest AI technologies just like real phishers do,” adds Bauwens.

A ‘Darwinistic’ algorithm enhances the platform by distributing successful phishing emails more prominently to relevant target groups, while less successful simulations are phased out. This improves the overall quality of simulations, leading to decreased interactions with phishing emails over time.

OutKept’s system operates without constant IT management or content creation, providing a sustainable solution for maintaining alertness to phishing threats. Clients typically experience a 50 per cent reduction in interactions with phishing emails within 2 to 3 months, claims OutKept.

The platform offers real-time monitoring through a live dashboard, allowing organisations to witness vulnerability reduction after one month. OutKept operates globally, engaging local ethical phishers in over 20 countries to conduct phishing simulations.

OutKept faces competition from established players like KnowBe4, Sophos, and Proofpoint, which are prominent American companies providing similar services.

Eduard Kucera, Partner at Presto Ventures says, “OutKept’s strategy of crowdsourcing potential phishing emails and educating their clients’ employees aligns perfectly with the current needs of enterprise security, especially in the face of increasingly sophisticated AI-fueled social engineering attacks.”

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