So this morning our first ‘real’ press release went out — a milestone in a company’s life. So rather than re-iterate everything you could read in the press release, which like most press releases says exactly enough and hopefully not too much at the same time, I’ll take a second to write about the color commentary we’ve been sharing with reporters and other interested parties.
So it’s obvious from the press release that we took funding from three main sources: Index Ventures who led the ‘B’ Round — led by Mike Volpi who many of us worked closely with in the past at Cisco Systems; Intel Capital — because we have been working closely with some of their cutting-edge security technologies; and Sutter Hill who incubated Skyport in their offices with our three founders. Sutter Hill tends to make a ‘big bet’ platform investment every now and then – they often incubate them in-house and one of their general partners will take an operating role as the CEO until the company achieves significant escape velocity.
We raised $30mm, which is a good sized second round for a company. It is a big enough round to let us operate comfortably at our current growth rate and spending levels without undue short-term pressures, but purposefully small enough to make sure we can still bring on top early to mid-stage employees and provide them an opportunity for good optionality. One concern we have always had with raising too high of a valuation is it gets harder to attract and retain the types of employees you want in an early-stage company.
What are we spending it on? Growth. Great people. Solid infrastructure.
What are we not spending it on? Fancy offices, ludicrous perks, expensive off-sites and meetings.
The most common question we get during interviews is – ‘what are you guys building?’ We have been pretty open with the press that we are building an engineered system that takes a tremendous amount of the integration complexity out of securing mission-critical systems. By mission-critical we have aimed at the types of IT infrastructure systems that are the ‘keys to the castle’ – the ones that if compromised can provide unfettered access to hundreds and thousands of other systems. These are often used for single sign-on, virtualization management, cloud management, big data, name services, certificate authorities, etc.
We have also highlighted that we view this market as the Hyper-Secured Infrastructure market – the amalgam of compute and security being brought tightly together to deliver systems that are secure by default – at the point of inception and not just at integration.
We also get asked, smartly, who we believe our competitors in this space are. Every company in stealth-mode or coming close to ending that like us always likes to think we don’t have a competitor. Or people give a trite answer like, “apathy, ambivalence, and hubris” – one of those non-answers designed to showcase their vocabulary. I can’t say for certain we don’t have any competitors because I don’t know every company out there – I can say though that I have not seen any system like what we’ve been building from any company we know of. Some companies are doing hardware for perimeter security, others are doing software-based agents on hosts, others are controlling how traffic flows with micro-segmentation – we aren’t competing with any of them.
Lastly, I wanted to let you know that we will be around RSA. We have a briefing suite a block or so away and will be engaging with key press, analysts, and customers at the show. If you’re interested in learning more about what we are doing drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you.
Thank you. dg