The Global VC

Penfield AI Elevates the Human Potential to Address Enterprise Cyberattacks

Cybersecurity experts have claimed that AI would automate everything in a Security Operation Center (SOC), but as hackers constantly change their maneuvers, AI needs to keep up.

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Roland Osborne

Roland Osborne






Cybersecurity is a growing interest in the 500 Startups community seeing as how Cyber threats are increasingly dangerous and widespread. The problem is no longer about simply detecting security threats–given the level of innovation that has gone into this space–but rather about responding to threats in a timely and accurate manner. 

One company that is addressing the growing security problem is Penfield AI, and we’re excited at the team’s approach to managing security threats.

The Nuts & Bolts 

Problem: Cybersecurity experts have claimed that AI would automate everything in a Security Operation Center (SOC), but as hackers constantly change their maneuvers, AI needs to keep up. With the spike in e-commerce and general Internet use during the COVID-19 outbreak, these threats have only amplified. Human intervention will continue to be required for sophisticated attacks in cyber defense, so the problem becomes: how can we blend human intelligence with AI optimization to better protect our businesses?

Solution: Instead of replacing Cybersecurity Analysts in SOCs with AI, Penfield.AI leverages human-machine intelligence in Cybersecurity to augment human capabilities for maximum efficiency and accuracy. Through its patent-pending ability to model analyst skill-set in real time, Penfield’s engine acts alongside analysts, enabling them to stop hackers up to 38% faster.

How 500 Met Penfield AI

We met Penfield AI while they were participating in the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a startup incubator in Toronto.

Penfield.AI started with two co-founders: CEO Tahseen Shabab holds a Bachelor’s in Engineering from the University of Waterloo and spent over 5 years working as a security consultant with IBM, Royal Bank of Canada, and more. Chief Scientist Hassan Khan has a Master’s in Computer Science from USC and a Ph.D. in Computer Security from the University of Waterloo. Since joining 500 Startups, they have grown, and continue to grow their team which is currently deploying within the intelligence sector.

Why Now?

While the problem of augmenting efficiencies in SOCs is not new, Penfield’s technology introduces human-machine intelligence to Cybersecurity processes to bridge the gap between human context and task automation, and potentially capture untapped efficiency gains. The pre-existing need for solutions in SOCs has been compounded by additional rises in the number and sophistication of threats inundating SOCs, Cybersecurity Analyst talent shortages, and the fact that pure automation tools do not always yield a return on investment for dynamic processes.  

Future of Penfield AI

Penfield AI is looking to champion this new human-intelligence of Cybersecurity, and empower people to achieve their maximum potential in Security Operation Centers and make the world safer. To facilitate this vision, Penfield AI is growing its engineering and business teams.  

You can learn more about Penfield AI at:

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Roland Osborne

Roland Osborne


Roland is a Principal at 500 Global, where he brings deep knowledge in the mobility and customer service spaces as well as broad operational expertise. Roland is a three-time entrepreneur, previously having co-founded Olark Live Chat where he was VP of product. Prior to 500, he worked as an Entrepreneur in Residence in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Peru.