October 27, 2023

Founder Spotlight: BforeAI

María Téllez

When I moved early this year from Mexico to Madrid for my new job at TheVentureCity, BforeAI was among the very first portfolio companies that I was introduced to. It was my first week on the job and, even without having met Luigi Lenguito, BforeAI’s CEO & Co-Founder, I found myself in a board meeting…

What unfolded completely blew my mind.

I remember thinking: How could a company be so remarkably ahead of its time? How did this diverse and multicultural team come together to build such an innovative product? And how could such a young company be wielding such impressive metrics in so little time?

I was impressed, and I think you will be too after reading this Founder Spotlight with Luigi. We asked him to share some insight into what it’s like being at the cutting edge of predictive cybercrime prevention, a fascinating space that is solving very real and serious problems for companies all over the world.

For some background: BforeAI is a predictive cybersecurity company that proactively protects brands from malicious intent such as fakes, frauds, and scams. Leveraging adversary disruption partners, it blocks or reduces access to suspicious domains, and removes malicious sites at scale with automated takedown requests. BforeAI is low-touch, no-code, non-intrusive, and offers API integrations.

Its numbers are impressive: It provides coverage of 95% of global internet traffic with 24/7 monitoring and has an average time of 8 days from attack projection to actual attack, with 70,000 IoA analyzed per day and only a 0.05% false positive rate.

This, and the exceptional founding team, is why we’re so excited to have BforeAI in our portfolio and to interview Luigi.


Compared to other businesses, like consumer goods or CRM software, for example, you are in a very serious industry. The responsibility towards your customers and other stakeholders is very high. How do you manage this kind of stress/pressure?

I like to think that the seriousness of our role is what motivates us to do well. Yes, our customers depend on us to fend off cyberattacks, and they trust we will alert them and help them disrupt the attacks even before they start, but I do not think there is a particular stress attached to the mission. We know what we need to do to continuously be on top of the technology and executing on it is our highest priority.

What helps is that we have embedded the mission in our core values at BforeAI - with the first being "Be One Step Ahead". We always want to pre-empt problems and be in front of customer needs. We have a bias for action, and that means we are constantly active...there is not much time to think about the stress!

Between the 3 of you, there doesn't seem to be a large amount of experience in the cybersecurity/fraud prevention space. How did you decide to get into the space and what gives you the confidence you can succeed in it?

I am a big fan of "Wargames" the movie...did you know it's the first time the word "firewall" was used in a computer security context? Does that count as experience?

Jokes aside, both Sebastien and I have deep experience in IT infrastructure and Network Security, and while we are not "hackers with a hoodie" (so to speak), we understand the challenges of keeping a company safe. I do think that not being "hardcore" security specialists is what has helped us look at the problem from another angle, and stop being reactive. With a more traditional background, we probably would not have thought to trademark "PreCrime" as a product name or even be naïve enough to think predictive security could be a thing.

How we started is actually serendipitous - we all met at a research institute, where they were seeking entrepreneurs to market new technologies they had developed. The three of us got along as we shared common passions (we are all pistonheads - aka car lovers) and then decided to work on this technology I felt had a lot of potential. Like all good stories, it started small but the stars aligned.

How do you manage the most challenging moments between the three of you? And how do you manage them with the entire team?

We like the acronym API - Assume Positive Intent. Three of us know we are all giving our best to grow BforeAI and execute our mission. Sure there are moments of tension, but we know we can talk straight and express our concerns freely, as ultimately we all want to go in the same direction and give our best.

The same goes for the team, and maybe even easier, as we are a learning organization and really push for autonomy and self-drive. Another one of our values is transparency and sharing, and we are brutal with that. For example, our monthly ‘All Team’ meeting is an opportunity to show our runway in the number of months and to remind everyone we are still fighting for survival. We do not shy away from having "hard" conversations, as we believe that as adults we can give the team the information they need to appreciate what is going on. They depend on the company for their livelihoods, so we owe them the visibility about the future to manage their circumstances accordingly.

How do you foster your culture while being fully remote? Do you plan on being remote forever?

I am in a fight against the word "remote"... remote from what? It perhaps applies when you have a corporation with HQs and a few people working far away. We’re born fully distributed and have built the company with this in mind, investing in growing more asynchronous, and with the intention of creating the right social bonds.

We have a number of rituals (daily "coffee" virtual meetings, monthly All Hands calls, a multitude of Slack channels to keep the conversation ongoing, etc.) that keep the team connected. Meanwhile, we aim to document all our decisions and policies in our PreView portal - inspired by the Gitlab Handbook - to have a point of reference on which we build continuously.

You've successfully raised your Series A - what do you each look for in investors? Do the three of you founders have different priorities in mind or are you all aligned?

We indeed closed our first round (which I did not even try to label, as each investor has a different naming convention in mind) in August 2022 for 4 million EUR. We had 5 term sheets to choose from, all from serious investors. We decided to go with Karma VC, out of Estonia, and Karista from France, for a number of reasons: Karma was the only one that really got into the details of our IP and helped resolve some outstanding issues even before the round was closed. Karista has a lot of experience in France with deep-tech companies, and we think it's very important to have a long-term partner on the cap table. Both were very founder-friendly during the negotiation process, without adding an unnecessary burden to a stressful time. Last but not least, the reference call with other founders that have worked with them, confirmed the impression we were going to have - true partners in our journey, same as TheVentureCity.