Press Release

Diffblue, a University of Oxford AI spin-out, raises $22 million in Series A funding

  • $22 million represents one of the largest Series A rounds for an AI company in Europe to date.
  • Founded by University of Oxford Computer Science Professor Daniel Kroening and Dr. Peter Schrammel, Diffblue develops AI for code. Daniel has brought together a team that includes some of the world’s leading experts in computer-aided verification and machine learning.
  • The company automates many traditional coding tasks: bug fixing, test writing, finding and fixing exploits, refactoring code, translating from one programing language to another, and creating original code to fit specifications.

London, 26th June 2017 – Diffblue, a world leader in AI for code, today announces that it has raised $22 million in Series A funding, one year after its spin-out from the University of Oxford. This round is led by Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments, alongside Oxford Sciences Innovations (OSI) and Oxford Technology and Innovations Fund (OTIF).

Diffblue’s core AI builds an exact mathematical model of any code base. This model allows a very deep semantic understanding of what a program is trying to do.

Diffblue are launching three products that are built on this core engine:  a testing product that automatically generates human-readable tests for an existing codebase; a security product that automatically discovers security holes and generates actual runnable exploits; and a refactoring product that automatically rewrites badly expressed or out of date code.

The code-testing product, which will be fully integrated with continuous integration servers such as Jenkins and software repository providers such as GitHub, is now available for Java and C. Under development are the Python, Javascript and C# versions of the testing product, as well as the security and refactoring product.

Daniel Kroening, CEO and founder of Diffblue, and Professor of Computer Science at University of Oxford, said:

“Software is becoming increasingly complex, interdependent and vulnerable and it’s unrealistic to believe that humans can guarantee its safety and security.
“We believe that the suite of tools we are developing at Diffblue has immense potential to help address these issues. Studies show that coders spend up to 30% of their time writing tests. Automation will provide great returns both in terms of achieving much broader test coverage, and also freeing up significant developer time. Furthermore, many legacy codebases suffer from very deficient test coverage, which removes any chance of lifting them out of legacy and into nimbleness – again, we believe automation in this space will have powerful beneficial effects.
“In the security area, many tools will tell you the 50 thousand things that are potential problems with your code, leaving the developer to identify which threats are real before they can be addressed. Diffblue will identify the genuine threats and generate an actual runnable exploit that you can debug and fix. Finally, our refactoring tool understands the semantics of code, not just the syntax. This raises the possibility of very powerful automated tools to walk across a code base, suggesting incremental clean-ups that can be checked and applied with great confidence.”

Barnaby Martin, Chairman of Diffblue said:

“We’re proud to have closed one of Europe’s largest Series A rounds for an AI company. The fact that this has been completed inside just one year since the company’s inception is testament to Daniel and his incredible team.
“We are delighted to welcome Goldman Sachs as an investor and we look forward to working closely with them and our existing investors as we continue to expand Diffblue’s market-leading capabilities and product suite.”

Lilly Bussmann, Principal at Oxford Sciences Innovations (OSI) said:

“We’re proud to be supporting one of Europe’s most exciting tech startups. In a world that’s increasingly run by software, Diffblue’s mission of equipping developers and organisations with the next generation AI-powered dev tools is a very worthwhile one, both in terms of its economic and social impact.
“To us, Diffblue is a great example of how world-class research undertaken at Oxford can result in truly innovative technologies being put in the hands of end-users. We’re very excited to be working with Diffblue in the years to come.”