As long as our world relies on technology for everything — our jobs, homes, money, healthcare — there will be cyber criminals finding ways to exploit the digital world for their own gain.

Cybersecurity was a hot area of venture investment during the pandemic but VCs have slowed investment in information security as part of an overall slowdown. That has made this segment a hot area for acquisition by larger corporations. The number of acquisition deals in the second quarter this year are up by 50% compared to the first quarter, PitchBook data shows.

Those working in the cybersecurity industry are often well paid, too, with jobs ranging from $100,000 to $400,000, according to the University of San Diego. That makes this a necessary technology and a good career.

So, when we asked dozens of VCs at the most successful firms to name the most promising startups of 2023 so far as part of our annual Most Promising Startups project, quite a few were security startups. We asked the VCs to name startups that are in their portfolios and ones that aren't. All data about money raised to date is approximate and from PitchBook, unless otherwise noted.

Alethea: detecting digital disinformation

What it does: Alethea offers a service that detects digital disinformation, protects companies from being targeted and offers mitigation if they fall victim.

Why it's hot in 2023: "The weaponization of the open internet – including malicious disinformation, misinformation, and social media manipulation – is one of the biggest issues we'll have to deal with over the next few decades," Schlein said. "Alethea's machine learning SaaS platform conducts multichannel analysis across billions of data points to identify disinformation and manipulation at its start, before it takes hold."

He also said that founder and CEO Lisa Kaplan "is a force" and the four-year-old startup is starting to win some big customers.

Read the full story here.