NorseCorp Creates the Internet Security Equivalent of a No-Fly List

By September 20, 2011

NorseCorp is an internet security company with a twist: they use real time data to identify the most dangerous IP addresses in the world. An IP address is a unique number which identifies different computers and devices that connect to the internet. Norse’s technology builds a database of IP addresses that are dangerous. They build this list of potentially harmful IP addresses by first harnessing the power of millions of their virtual agents strategically spread across the internet. These agents are programmed to perform many intelligence-gathering functions, including posing as attractive targets, monitoring peer-to-peer traffic, or observing conversations in the vast majority of internet relay chat rooms. The hackers leave behind their IP addresses, and in real time Norse updates their database with a list of machines that are being used by hackers and fraudsters.

The first market NorseCorp is focused on is eCommerce fraud. Every year, eCommerce sites are hit with around $7 billion of fraudulent purchases. Since the merchants and financial services institutions bear the brunt of the cost for these charges, they have a big incentive to decrease fraud. Norse is teaming up with payment gateways, companies that process credit card payments for merchants, to provide a boost in security that will decrease total fraudulent purchases. Their first partnership is with payment gateway giant Merchant Partners.

NorseCorp sells merchants a license to their database and creates a risk score for IP addresses. This risk score allows merchants to determine the probability that an individual purchase is from a fraudster. The service can pay for itself by decreasing the number of fraudulent purchases on high-risk eCommerce sites. The process adds a layer of internet security not common for the web, but routine in other industries. While airports have a series of security screenings like x-rays and metal detectors, they also have a no-fly list to keep known terrorists out of the sky. NorseCorp’s technology keeps a list of IP addresses recently used in illicit activities, and prevents them from making eCommerce purchases. They are like the internet’s no-fly list.

Currently, Norse has four full-time employees located primarily in St. Louis. The company’s CEO, Sam Glines, said they expect seven figure revenues next year and to be profitable. They are currently raising a $1 million round of financing. On their current financing activities, Sam said “we are looking to close this round very soon, however we want to ensure that the investors that do move forward are a good fit for the company. We have a very strong core investor group who is supporting Norse right now, and as we close in on revenue realization, a strategic fit is a value driver for us regarding new investors.”

Norse was recently accepted into St. Louis’ accelerator program called Capital Innovators. Capital Innovators provides companies with 12 weeks of intensive mentoring, legal and accounting assistance, office space, and $50,000 of capital. In exchange, Capital Innovators takes a 5% – 10% equity stake. At the end of the program, companies pitch before venture funds and angel investors at Demo Day. Sam said he was excited to be a part of Capital Innovators’ inaugural class because of the high-quality mentors and the program’s structure. He said the $50,000 did not hurt either.