Category: Security

How Investing in Cybersecurity Could Give ClickUp up to a $350 Million Valuation Boost

This post is by Georgian Team from Georgian

ClickUp is the world’s only all-in-one productivity platform that flexes to the way people want to work. It replaces all individual workplace productivity tools with a single, unified platform that includes project management, document collaboration, spreadsheets, chat and now whiteboards.

As one of the fastest-growing SaaS platforms in the world, ClickUp has helped more than 800,000 teams and millions of users lead a more productive life. Customers trust ClickUp because it provides tremendous value, but also because they’re comfortable with how it stores and protects their sensitive information.

Cybersecurity is a growing concern for all businesses and individuals. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that the impact of cybercrime could hit a whopping $10.5 trillion by 2025. The cost of cyberattacks is immense, as is the value of building and maintaining customer trust

With that in mind, ClickUp made key investments to its cybersecurity infrastructure to stay ahead of the curve. Georgian led ClickUp’s $100 million Series B in December 2020, and through that relationship, ClickUp became our first-ever cybersecurity deep engagement partner.

ClickUp invested in the security foundations for long-term success, including hiring a strong team and building the right architecture. Together, we developed a strong security foundation that brought the topic of trust to the forefront as a board-level discussion.

ClickUp wanted to continue its incredible growth while securing its future

While many high-growth companies choose to delay these investments in favor of driving short-term results, protecting clients’ data is a “top priority” for ClickUp, says Founder and CEO (Read more...)

How to Scale Your Cybersecurity With Your Business

This post is by Alex Manea from Georgian

As your company evolves from startup to growth stage, cybersecurity needs to follow along to support, or perhaps even lead, the business. 

First, you need to hire a great leader to own the strategy, then you need to build a security architecture to support the growth they create. Here, we’ll focus on the final step of the journey and by far the most challenging one: scaling your security strategy as your business reaches late-stage and starts preparing for an exit or IPO.

I was lucky enough to lead cybersecurity at a multi-billion dollar public company that achieved tremendous success, faced seemingly insurmountable challenges, and leveraged its security leadership to effectively reinvent itself. I now advise Georgian companies on how to build out their architectures as they raise hundreds of millions of dollars, achieve unicorn status, get acquired by some of the world’s top tech firms, or even decide to go public themselves

These incredible outcomes have taught me a lot about what to do (and what not to do) as businesses grow, and I’d like to share some of these learnings to try and help guide you on your own journey.

Benchmark Your Security

One of the most challenging aspects of cybersecurity is measuring it. As much as we’d love to have a single, objective way of measuring risks, mitigations and ROI of security investments that applies to all (or even most) environments, it simply doesn’t exist.

So how do you benchmark something that can’t (Read more...)

Cybersecurity VC funding surges to a record $11.5B in 2021

The pandemic completely upended the threat landscape as we know it. Ransomware accounted for an estimated 2.9 million attacks so far in 2021, and supply-chain attacks that targeted Kaseya and SolarWinds have increased fourfold over 2020, according to the European Union’s cybersecurity agency, ENISA, which recently warned that the more traditional cybersecurity protections are no longer effective in defending against these types of attacks.

This has created an unprecedented need for emerging technologies, attracting both organizations and investors to look closer at newer cybersecurity technologies.

“We are seeing a perfect storm of factors coming together to create the most aggressive threat landscape in history for commercial and government organizations around the world,” said Dave DeWalt, founder and managing director of NightDragon, which recently invested in multi-cloud security startup vArmour. “As an investor and advisor, I feel we have a responsibility to help these organizations better prepare themselves to mitigate this growing risk.”

According to Momentum Cyber’s latest cybersecurity market review out Wednesday, investors poured $11.5 billion in total venture capital financing into cybersecurity startups in the first half of 2021, up from $4.7 billion during the same period a year earlier.

More than 36 of the 430 total transactions surpassed the $100 million mark, according to Momentum, which includes the $543 million Series A raised by passwordless authentication company Transmit Security and the $525 million round closed by cloud-based security company Lacework.

“As an investor in the cyber market for over fifteen years, I can say that this (Read more...)

5 Steps to Building Your First Security Architecture

This post is by Alex Manea from Georgian

Imagine you’ve been asked to lead security at a company that doesn’t have a strong program in place or wants to significantly upgrade their existing one — either because they suspect it might not be effective, or because a recent cyberattack has proven that to be the case. You’ve obviously got a daunting task ahead, so how do you go about it, and more importantly, where do you even start?

If you work at a startup or growth stage company, chances are you’ve either encountered this scenario in the past, are in this type of situation right now, or will face it in the near future. Maybe you’re a founder or senior employee who has volunteered (or been voluntold) to lead cybersecurity, or you’re an experienced security leader hired to build out the new security program.

I’ve been in this position multiple times and now advise CEOs, CTOs, CISOs and other security leaders on the most effective ways to build out their internal security architecture. While every company and situation is different, there are some approaches that work better than others. 

I’d like to share these approaches and highlight some of the common pitfalls to help kickstart your cybersecurity journey. With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step framework that can act as a guide for starting, or improving, your cybersecurity infrastructure.

Step 1: Map Out Your Current Systems

The first step of any complex task is fact-finding, so before you start building anything, you’ll want to have detailed knowledge (Read more...)

Accel doubles down on 1Password, which just raised $100M more at a $2B valuation

Toronto-based 1Password is one of those rare companies that is a) profitable and b) transparent enough to share financials.

And today, the company announced that it raised $100 million in a Series B round of funding that doubles the company’s valuation to $2 billion.

You may recall that the previously bootstrapped 1Password only raised its first round of external capital in 2019 – a $200 million Series A led by Accel that represented the venture firm’s largest single investment in its 35-year history. At the time, 1Password was hardly a startup, having been founded in 2005. 

Accel also led its latest round, which notably included participation from Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Kim Jackson’s Skip Capital and a slew of tech executives including Tobias Lütke, CEO of Shopify; Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify; Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and CEO of Slack; Anthony Caselena, founder and CEO of Squarespace; Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, co-CEOs of Atlassian; and Kevin Hartz, co-founder and chairman of Eventbrite, among others.

Profitable since day one, 1Password recently crossed the $120 million in ARR (annual recurring revenue) mark, according to CEO Jeff Shiner. Over 90,000 businesses use its SaaS platform, including a number of big names such as Under Armour, Shopify, the PGA, IBM, GitLab, Slack and PagerDuty. That’s up from 50,000 customers at the time of its November 2019 raise.

Founding couples Dave and Sara Teare and Roustem and Natalia Karimov came up with the idea for 1Password while they were growing another company that built (Read more...)

Ex-Plaid employees raise $30M for Stytch, an API-first passwordless authentication platform

There are far fewer annoying things than managing one’s passwords.

There are a bunch of companies out there to help you attempt to do that. And there’s also a number of companies that want to go a step further and eliminate the password completely.

One such company, Stytch, just raised $30 million in a Series A round of funding as it launches out of beta with its API-first passwordless authentication platform.

The round caught our attention for a couple of reasons.

For one, this is the same startup that just months earlier announced it had raised a $6.25 million seed round led by Benchmark with participation from Index Ventures and a number of angels including Plaid co-founder William Hockey. That round was speculated to have valued the new company at a staggering $200 million (although that was never confirmed), and was actually raised last summer around the time of Stytch’s founding, but only announced this year. Other angels that have backed the company include Figma co-founder and CEO Dylan Field, Very Good Security co-founder Mahmoud Abdelkader, startup advisor Elad Gil and early Stripe employee and Cocoon co-founder Amber Feng.

Also notable about this round is that Stytch was founded by two former Plaid employees, Reed McGinley-Stempel (CEO) and Julianna Lamb (CTO), who built user authentication features that “millions” use to connect their bank accounts to apps like Venmo, Coinbase and Robinhood. The company was founded on the premise that passwords are no longer secure, and make companies easy targets (Read more...)

Swiss Post acquires e2e encrypted cloud services provider, Tresorit

Swiss Post, the former state-owned mail delivery firm which became a private limited company in 2013, diversifying into logistics, finance, transport and more (including dabbling in drone delivery) while retaining its role as Switzerland’s national postal service, has acquired a majority stake in Swiss-Hungarian startup Tresorit, an early European pioneer in end-to-end-encrypted cloud services.

Terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed. But Swiss Post’s income has been falling in recent years, as (snailmail) letter volumes continue to decline. And a 2019 missive warned its business needed to find new sources of income.

Tresorit, meanwhile, last raised back in 2018 — when it announced an €11.5M Series B round, with investors including 3TS Capital Partners and PortfoLion. Other backers of the startup include business angels and serial entrepreneurs like Márton Szőke, Balázs Fejes and Andreas Kemi. According to Crunchbase Tresorit had raised less than $18M over its decade+ run.

It looks like a measure of the rising store being put on data security that a veteran ‘household’ brand like Swiss Post sees strategic value in extending its suite of digital services with the help of a trusted startup in the e2e encryption space.

‘Zero access’ encryption was still pretty niche back when Tresorit got going over a decade ago but it’s essentially become the gold standard for trusted information security, with a variety of players now offering e2e encrypted services — to businesses and consumers.

Announcing (Read more...)

Network security startup ExtraHop skips and jumps to $900M exit

Last year, Seattle-based network security startup ExtraHop was riding high, quickly approaching $100 million in ARR and even making noises about a possible IPO in 2021. But there will be no IPO, at least for now, as the company announced this morning it has been acquired by a pair of private equity firms for $900 million.

The firms, Bain Capital Private Equity and Crosspoint Capital Partners, are buying a security solution that provides controls across a hybrid environment, something that could be useful as more companies find themselves in a position where they have some assets on-site and some in the cloud.

The company is part of the narrower Network Detection and Response (NDR) market. According to Jesse Rothstein, ExtraHop’s chief technology officer and co-founder, it’s a technology that is suited to today’s threat landscape, “I will say that ExtraHop’s north star has always really remained the same, and that has been around extracting intelligence from all of the network traffic in the wire data. This is where I think the network detection and response space is particularly well-suited to protecting against advanced threats,” he told TechCrunch.

The company uses analytics and machine learning to figure out if there are threats and where they are coming from, regardless of how customers are deploying infrastructure. Rothstein said he envisions a world where environments have become more distributed with less defined perimeters and more porous networks.

“So the ability to have this high quality detection and response capability utilizing next generation machine (Read more...)

Security startup Tessian, which uses AI to fight social engineering, trousers $65M

In the latest chunky funding round out of Europe, UK-based email security startup, Tessian, has closed $65 million in Series C funding. The startup applies machine learning to build individual behavior models for enterprise email use that aims to combat human error by flagging problematic patterns which could signify risky stuff is happening — such as phishing or data exfiltration.

The Series C round was led by March Capital. Existing investors Accel, Balderton Capital, Latitude and Sequoia Capital also participated, along with new investor Schroder Adveq.

The latest financing brings Tessian’s total raised to-date to $120M+, and values the company at $500M, it said today.

The 2013 founded startup last raised back in January 2019 when it closed a $40M Series B (news that was scooped by former TCer, Steve O’Hear). Prior to that it grabbed a $13M Series A in mid 2018.

Tessian has around 350 global customers at this stage, across the legal, financial services, healthcare and technology sectors — name-checking the likes of Affirm, Arm, Investec and RealPagem among them.

Over the past year there has been much coverage of the security risks associated with the pandemic-sparked remote working boom, as scores of white collars workers started logging on from home — expanding the attack surface area which enterprises needed to manage.

It’s a risk that’s been good for Tessian’s business: The startup says it tripled its Fortune 500-level customer base last year — “as enterprises required a solution that could protect them against (Read more...)