Jun
17
2020
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Uptycs lands $30M Series B to keep building security analytics platform

Every company today is struggling to deal with security and understanding what is happening on their systems. This is even more pronounced as companies have had to move their employees to work from home. Uptycs, a Boston-area security analytics startup, announced a $30 million Series B today to help companies detect and understand breaches when they happen.

Sapphire Ventures led the round with help from Comcast Ventures and ForgePoint Capital. The startup has now raised a total of $43 million, according to the company. Under the terms of today’s deal, Sapphire Ventures’ president and managing director Jai Das will be joining the company’s board.

Company co-founder and CEO Ganesh Pai says he and his co-founders previously worked at Akamai, where they observed Akamai’s debugging and diagnostic tools, which were designed to work at massive scale. The founders believed they could use a similar approach to building a security analytics platform, and in 2016 the group launched Uptycs .

“We help people to solve intrusion detection, compliance and audit and incident investigation. These are table stakes requirements [for security solutions] that most large scale organizations have, and of course with their scale the challenges vary. What we at Uptycs do is provide a solution for that,” Pai told TechCrunch.

The company uses a flight recorder approach to security, giving security operations teams the ability to sift through the data and review exactly how a detection happened and how the intruder got through the company’s defenses.

He recognizes his company is fortunate to get a round this large right now, but he says the solution has attracted a number of customers signing seven-digit contracts and this in turn got the attention of investors. “That customer engagement, their experience and this commitment from our customers led to this substantial round of funding,” he said.

The company currently has 65 employees spread across offices in Waltham, a Boston suburb, as well as two offices in India. Pai says the plan is to double that number in the next 12 months. “Between the cash flow from our existing customers and the pipeline for us and the funding, we are planning to grow in a meaningful way. If everything aligns with our expectation we will double our team size in the next 12 months,” he said.

As he grows his company in this way, Pai says they are talking to their investors about how to build a diverse workforce. “We’ve thought long and hard about it, both in terms of diversity and inclusion. It is a lot harder to execute because at the end of the day, there is a finite talent pool, but we are having conversations with our investors, who have seen patterns of success in terms of implementing such plans from growth stage ventures,” he said.

He added, “And of course we are a very early-stage company, but we are extremely cognizant, and given the current circumstances are acutely aware that we need to do our very best and make a difference.”

As the company has moved to work from home across its operations, he says it has benefited from working in the cloud from the start. “As an organization we are very fortunate that we built our organization so that everything runs in the cloud and everyone has been able to remain very productive,” he said.

Jun
04
2020
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SaaS earnings rise as pandemic pushes companies more rapidly to the cloud

As the pandemic surged and companies moved from offices to working at home, they needed tools to ensure the continuity of their business operations. SaaS companies have always been focused on allowing work from anywhere there’s access to a computer and internet connection, and while the economy is reeling from COVID-19 fallout, modern software companies are thriving.

That’s because the pandemic has forced companies that might have been thinking about moving to the cloud to find tools what will get them there much faster. SaaS companies like Zoom, Box, Slack, Okta and Salesforce were there to help; cloud security companies like CrowdStrike also benefited.

While it’s too soon to say how the pandemic will affect work long term when it’s safe for all employees to return to the office, it seems that companies have learned that you can work from anywhere and still get work done, something that could change how we think about working in the future.

One thing is clear: SaaS companies that have reported recent earnings have done well, with Zoom being the most successful example. Revenue was up an eye-popping 169% year-over-year as the world shifted in a big way to online meetings, swelling its balance sheet.

There is a clear connection between the domestic economy’s rapid transition to the cloud and the earnings reports we are seeing — from infrastructure to software and services. The pandemic is forcing a big change to happen faster than we ever imagined.

Big numbers

Zoom and CrowdStrike are two companies expected to grow rapidly thanks to the recent acceleration of the digital transformation of work. Their earnings reports this week made those expectations concrete, with both firms beating expectations while posting impressive revenue growth and profitability results.

Apr
07
2020
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Continuous delivery pioneer CircleCI scores $100M Series E

CircleCI, an early adherent to the notion of continuous delivery when it launched in 2011, announced a $100 million Series E investment today. It comes on top of a $56 million round last July.

The round was led by IVP and Sapphire Ventures . Under the terms of the deal, Cack Wilhelm will be joining the CircleCI board. Jai Das from Sapphire will also be joining the board as an observer.

Today’s investment brings the total raised to $215 million, according to the company, with $156 million coming over the last 8 months. The company did not want to discuss its current valuation.

Circle CI CEO Jim Rose says with so much uncertainty because of COVID-19 he welcomes not only the money, but the quality of the firms and people involved in the investment.

“We’re really excited to get both IVP and Sapphire because they’ve seen all of it all the way through public and beyond. Given all of the nuttiness over the last few months obviously having cash on the balance sheet is extremely helpful, but the other part, too is that this a time when you want to have more brains around the table, not fewer. And so being able to get people to help out and just think about the problems that we’re encountering right now is really helpful,” Rose told TechCrunch .

Rose recognizes the huge challenge everyone is facing, but he sees this switch to remote workforces really driving the need for more automation, something his company is in a position to help DevOps teams with.

“What we’ve seen from a DevOps perspective is that this forced migration to remote-only for so many organizations has really driven the urgency for more automation in the DevOps pipeline,” he said.

He said this has led to a huge surge in usage on the platform in recent weeks, and today’s investment will at least partly go towards making sure there are enough resources in place to keep the platform stable whatever comes.

“When we think about money and we think about where we’re investing in the near term, we’re investing a lot in making sure that the platform is stable and available and supporting all of our customers as they go through this. You know this is a difficult time, a difficult transition and we’re trying to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to support our customers through that process,” Rose said.

Many companies at this stage of startup maturity begin to look ahead to an IPO, but Rose isn’t ready to discuss that, especially in the current economic climate. “We’re going to have to get folks to some kind of liquidity at some point, but I think right now our focus is on really investing in the platform and investing in our customers and then we’ll let the market clear out and figure out what the new normal looks like,” he said.

The company would consider making some acquisitions with its base of capital if the right opportunity came along. “We’re always evaluating and always looking around. One of the interesting things about our space is that it’s flooded with new and innovative approaches to point problems. There are a lot of companies that are interesting, so we’re definitely always looking around,” he said.

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