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article imageHow a security startup secured $7.5 million in funding

By Jenna Cyprus     May 9, 2014 in Business
The “Heartbleed attacks” are still being felt as some victims are still suffering the aftershocks (and others aren’t yet aware that they were hacked).
Security concerns are nothing new, but they’re becoming more prevalent in a digital and mobile era. Investors are taking note, which may be why a security startup called Synack just secured $7.5 million in a Series A funding round headed by Kleiner Perkins.
Every company is being encouraged to move into the cloud for both streamlined processes and a greener approach to business. This has led to increasing security issues, some of which are unprecedented. Heartbleed and others like it may have been preventable, and major businesses are taking note. Under the tutelage of Ted Schlein, a Kleiner partner, Synack is slated to be the next big startup and there are lessons entrepreneurs in every industry can learn.
Bragging rights
Additional investors are made up of big names like Google Ventures, Allegis Capital, Greylock Partners and the CEO of Shape Security, Derek Smith. Shape Security is also a startup that received initial funding from Kleiner, and it looks like Smith is up for sharing the glory. Prior to Series A, startups undertake seed rounds and Synack secured $1.5 million during that round.
The CEO of Synack is Jay Kaplan, a prior US National Security Agency analyst. Co-founder Mark Kuhr worked with Kaplan at the headquarters in Maryland, and the duo put in notice together in 2013 to form their startup. Their mission? Build a fleet of highly skilled hackers with the sole goal of probing the internet for vulnerabilities. “We’re bringing together a set of diverse skill sets, people who are really good at what they do,” Kaplan explains.
Paving the way
Whether a startup is committed to connecting patients with doctors online or selling vegan treats for pet rabbits, there are many common threads. “Generally speaking, organizations are not well-equipped to deal with these new security vulnerabilities,” Kaplan notes as he points out that most hacks are automated. However, it’s the approach Synack is taking that’s crucial for other startups to follow: Hiring only the best workers for each job and giving them a feasible and challenging mission that’s evolving and never ends.
Kaplan explains that it’s the human element that makes Synack so unique and likely to succeed. He says they’ll “push boundaries” and have the tools to uncover flaws, with the possibility of being heroes who stop the next Heartbleed in its tracks. Even better, Synack provides customers with the support to optimize their own infrastructure which showcases the camaraderie within all businesses.
Filling a niche
Another point for Synack is that the company has identified a growing problem and is addressing it with an ambition that’s unprecedented. The fact that Heartbleed just happened and has clients running into the comforting arms of Synack is sheer kismet at work. However, Synack hasn’t named any customers, as is the norm for security organizations, but Kaplan says that a number of education, retail, healthcare and financial services organizations are their clients.
What will the latest funding support? Mostly recruiting new researchers, according to Kaplan. It’s a cycle that’s a win-win for everyone involved.
More about Startup, Funding, heartbleed, open ssl
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