Mar
10
2021
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Aqua Security raises $135M at a $1B valuation for its cloud native security platform

Aqua Security, a Boston- and Tel Aviv-based security startup that focuses squarely on securing cloud-native services, today announced that it has raised a $135 million Series E funding round at a $1 billion valuation. The round was led by ION Crossover Partners. Existing investors M12 Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Insight Partners, TLV Partners, Greenspring Associates and Acrew Capital also participated. In total, Aqua Security has now raised $265 million since it was founded in 2015.

The company was one of the earliest to focus on securing container deployments. And while many of its competitors were acquired over the years, Aqua remains independent and is now likely on a path to an IPO. When it launched, the industry focus was still very much on Docker and Docker containers. To the detriment of Docker, that quickly shifted to Kubernetes, which is now the de facto standard. But enterprises are also now looking at serverless and other new technologies on top of this new stack.

“Enterprises that five years ago were experimenting with different types of technologies are now facing a completely different technology stack, a completely different ecosystem and a completely new set of security requirements,” Aqua CEO Dror Davidoff told me. And with these new security requirements came a plethora of startups, all focusing on specific parts of the stack.

Image Credits: Aqua Security

What set Aqua apart, Dror argues, is that it managed to 1) become the best solution for container security and 2) realized that to succeed in the long run, it had to become a platform that would secure the entire cloud-native environment. About two years ago, the company made this switch from a product to a platform, as Davidoff describes it.

“There was a spree of acquisitions by CheckPoint and Palo Alto [Networks] and Trend [Micro],” Davidoff said. “They all started to acquire pieces and tried to build a more complete offering. The big advantage for Aqua was that we had everything natively built on one platform. […] Five years later, everyone is talking about cloud-native security. No one says ‘container security’ or ‘serverless security’ anymore. And Aqua is practically the broadest cloud-native security [platform].”

One interesting aspect of Aqua’s strategy is that it continues to bet on open source, too. Trivy, its open-source vulnerability scanner, is the default scanner for GitLab’s Harbor Registry and the CNCF’s Artifact Hub, for example.

“We are probably the best security open-source player there is because not only do we secure from vulnerable open source, we are also very active in the open-source community,” Davidoff said (with maybe a bit of hyperbole). “We provide tools to the community that are open source. To keep evolving, we have a whole open-source team. It’s part of the philosophy here that we want to be part of the community and it really helps us to understand it better and provide the right tools.”

In 2020, Aqua, which mostly focuses on mid-size and larger companies, doubled the number of paying customers and it now has more than half a dozen customers with an ARR of over $1 million each.

Davidoff tells me the company wasn’t actively looking for new funding. Its last funding round came together only a year ago, after all. But the team decided that it wanted to be able to double down on its current strategy and raise sooner than originally planned. ION had been interested in working with Aqua for a while, Davidoff told me, and while the company received other offers, the team decided to go ahead with ION as the lead investor (with all of Aqua’s existing investors also participating in this round).

“We want to grow from a product perspective, we want to grow from a go-to-market [perspective] and expand our geographical coverage — and we also want to be a little more acquisitive. That’s another direction we’re looking at because now we have the platform that allows us to do that. […] I feel we can take the company to great heights. That’s the plan. The market opportunity allows us to dream big.”

 

Feb
23
2021
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Electric raises $40M Series C to put small-business IT in the cloud

It would be an understatement to say that enterprise-focused startups have fared well during the pandemic. As organizations look to go remote, and the way we work has been flipped on its head, quickly growing tech companies that simplify this transition are in high demand.

One such startup has, in fact, raised $61.5 million in the last 12 months alone. Electric, a company looking to put IT departments in the cloud, just announced the close of a $40 million Series C round. This comes after an extension of its Series B in March of 2020, when it raised $14.5 million, and then an additional $7 million from 01 Advisors in May of 2020.

This Series C round was led by Greenspring Associates, with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, GGV Capital, 01 Advisors and Primary Venture Partners as well as new investors including Atreides Management and Vintage Investment Partners.

Electric launched in 2016 with a mission to make IT much simpler for small and medium-sized businesses. Rather than bringing on a dedicated IT department, or contracting out high-priced local service providers, Electric’s software allows one admin to manage devices, software subscriptions, permissions and more.

According to founder Ryan Denehy, the vast majority of IT’s work is administration, distribution and maintenance of the broad variety of software programs at any given company. Electric does most of that job on behalf of IT, meaning that a smaller business only needs to worry about desk-side troubleshooting when it comes up, rather than the whole kit and caboodle.

Electric charges a flat price per seat per month, and Denehy says the company more than doubled its customer base in the last year. It now supports around 25,000 users across more than 400 individual customer organizations, which puts Electric just shy of $20 million ARR.

This is the first time Denehy has come anywhere close to sharing revenue numbers publicly, but it’s a good time to flex. The company has recently introduced a new lighter-weight offering that includes all of the same functionality as its more expensive product, but without access to chat functionality.

“The name of the game is just simplicity, simplicity, simplicity,” said Denehy. “Part of this is in response to the fact that people are realizing the permanence of hybrid work. During the pandemic, people stopped paying their landlords but they didn’t stop paying us. So in the summer, we started to focus on how we can create more offerings that we can get in the hands of more businesses and let them start their journey with us.”

Denehy says that a little less than half of Electric’s client base are tech startups, which makes sense considering the company launched in New York in a tech and media-centric ecosystem. As a way to expand into other verticals, Electric acquired Sinu, an IT service provider who happened to have an impressive roster of clients outside of Electric’s comfort zone, such as legal, accounting and nonprofit.

Here’s what Denehy said at the time:

Organic market entry, even in adjacent markets can be extremely time consuming and expensive. Sinu’s team has done an excellent job winning and pleasing customers in a lot of industries where we currently don’t play but probably should. The combination of our two companies is a massive shot in the arm to our national expansion strategy.

Alongside growth, both of the Electric team and its customer base, the company is also investing in expanding its diversity programs and philanthropic efforts.

The Electric team is currently made up of just under 250 full-time employees, with 32.5% women and around 30% of employees being non-white. Specifically, nearly 12% of employees are Black and 10% are Latinx.

Denehy explained that he thinks of the company’s payroll, which is in the tens of millions of dollars, as one of the biggest ways he can make a change in the world.

“We will wait longer to fill a role to make sure that we have the most diverse pipeline of candidates possible,” said Denehy. “A lot of founders will say that nobody applied. Well, the reality is you didn’t look hard enough. We’ve just accepted that it may take us longer to fill certain roles.”

This latest round brings Electric’s total funding to more than $100 million.

Sep
09
2020
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Xometry raises $75M Series E to expand custom manufacturing marketplace

When companies need to find manufacturers to build custom parts, it’s not always an easy process, especially during a pandemic. Xometry, a seven-year-old startup based in Maryland, has built an online marketplace where companies can find manufacturers across the world with excess capacity to build whatever they need. Today, the company announced a $75 million Series E investment to keep expanding the platform.

T. Rowe Price Associates led the investment, with participation from new firms Durable Capital Partners LP and ArrowMark Partners. Previous investors also joined the round, including BMW i Ventures, Greenspring Associates, Dell Technologies Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Foundry Group, Highland Capital Partners and Almaz Capital . Today’s investment brings the total raised to $193 million, according to the company.

Company CEO and co-founder Randy Altschuler says Xometry fills a need by providing a digital way of putting buyers and manufacturers together with a dash of artificial intelligence to put the right combination together. “We’ve created a marketplace using artificial intelligence to power it, and provide an e-commerce experience for buyers of custom manufacturing and for suppliers to deliver that manufacturing,” Altschuler told TechCrunch.

The kind of custom pieces that are facilitated by this platform include mechanical parts for aerospace, defense, automotive, robotics and medical devices — what Altschuler calls mission-critical parts. Being able to put companies together in this fashion is particularly useful during COVID-19 when certain regions might have been shut down.

“COVID has reinforced the need for distributed manufacturing and our platform enables that by empowering these local manufacturers, and because we’re using technology to do it, as COVID has unfolded […] and as continents have shut down, and even specific states in the United States have shut down, our platform has allowed customers to autocorrect and shift work to other locations,” he explained

What’s more, companies could take advantage of the platform to manufacture critical personal protective equipment. “One of the beauties of our platform was when COVID hit customers could come to our platform and suddenly access this tremendous amount of manufacturing capacity to produce this much-needed PPE,” he said.

Xometry makes money by facilitating the sale between the buyer and producer. They help set the price and then make money on the difference between the cost to produce and how much the buyer was willing to pay to have it done.

They have relationships with 5,000 manufacturers located throughout the world and 30,000 customers using the platform to build the parts they need. The company currently has around 350 employees, with plans to use the money to add more to keep enhancing the platform.

Altschuler says from a human perspective, he wants his company to have a diverse workforce because he never wants to see people being discriminated against for whatever reason, but he also says as a company with an international market, having a diverse workforce is also critical to his business. “The more diversity that we have within Xometry, the more we’re able to effectively market to those folks, sell to those folks and understand how they utilize technology. We’re just going to better understand our customer set as we [build a more diverse workforce],” he said.

As a Series E-stage company, Altschuler does not shy away from the IPO question. In fact, he recently brought in new CFO Jim Rallo, who has experience taking a company public. “The market that we operate in is so large, and there’s so many opportunities for us to serve both our customers and our suppliers, and we have to be great for both of them. We need capital to do that, and the public markets can be an efficient way to access that capital and to grow our business, and in the end that’s what we want to do,” he said.

Jul
14
2017
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Canada’s Assent Compliance raises $31.4M Series B round to help businesses stay in compliance

 Assent Compliance isn’t in a sexy space. The company focuses on helping enterprises collect the necessary data to keep their global supply chains in compliance with local and international regulations. But while that may not sound like the most exciting space to be in, the company today announced that it has raised a $40 million CAD Series B round. Read More

Jun
12
2015
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WalkMe Raises Another $25M For Its Platform To Get Around Websites And Software More Easily

walkme-demo Confusing or complicated website and software design can cost companies a lot in lost traffic and business, but for one startup, it’s a problem that is proving to be lucrative. WalkMe, which has developed a platform that integrates with existing software and sites to help guide people through using them — used by companies like eBay, Salesforce and Expedia — has raised… Read More

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