Placing bets on the people building cybersecurity startups
Explore the people building the next great cybersecurity companies.
Has fund X's security company hired "better" talent than fund Y's security company?
Over the last four weeks, we've taken deep dives into the portfolios of four leading venture funds including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and First Round Capital.
While there are shared investments between the funds, there are also multiple competitive investments within the same or similar verticals. Explore the human capital and companies that these funds have invested in to build at the frontier of data security:
- a16z & Truffle Security Co. – a16z led Truffle's Series A, backing the founding team behind the successful open-source security project, TruffleHog
- Sequoia & Monad Inc – Sequoia led Monad's seed round, backing seasoned security industry veterans from a VMware and Opendoor
- BVP & Sentra – Bessemer backed Sentra's seed round and the founding team with decades of experience in Israel's famed Unit 8200
Dive in below to answer the question, “Who is building the next great data security company?”
Plus, read to the bottom to see the latest security industry veterans to enter stealth.
Why data security?
The growing mass of data is the new endpoint for cyber defense. Data’s exponentially growing importance means that every company is trying to create stronger security practices, and security dollars continue to shift from endpoints and networks to data itself.
Securing data means protecting it as close as possible to where it is generated – focusing on encryption, obfuscation, etc. to secure data.
More organizations are embedding security into software development and data science, and security engineers are becoming an integral part of product and development. Rather than focusing on security people who understand software, many organizations are shifting their search to look for developers or engineers who understand security.
Truffle Security Co.
a16z led Truffle Security’s Series A. The startup is focused on secrets management for the cloud infrastructure landscape.
Truffle Security was founded by Dylan Avery, Julian Dunning, and Dustin Decker, the team behind the popular open-source project, TruffleHog. TruffleHog has over 6,000 Github stars, 5,000 daily deployments, and numerous other deployments via assorted security oss channels.
The founding trio has the requisite domain expertise in the cybersecurity space, making them an ideal team to lead Truffle Security's enterprise solutions. The growing team is comprised of career security experts, many of whom have worked together previously or who went to the same alma mater.
The team’s experience solving similar problems and familiarity with each other should lay the foundation for success.
The Monad team, including co-founders Christian Almenar and Jacolon Walker, have been recognized as leaders in the emerging field of infrastructure cybersecurity.
The two cybersecurity veterans combined their experiences from a security startup, Intrinsic (acquired by VMware), and big tech, Opendoor and Palantir to create a security company that caters to large companies overwhelmed by cybersecurity sprawl.
Together, the two came up with an idea centered around a concept that builds data connectors that can streamline and simplify the often complex process of collecting cybersecurity data from multiple vendors, allowing companies to consolidate their security data.
The average Fortune 500 company manages over 100 different cybersecurity vendors. Monad's solution could not only simplify the process of managing these vendors but could also provide opportunities for more comprehensive analysis and correlations of data.
Former soldiers from Israel’s famed Unit 8200 Intelligence unit have gone on to produce many of the world’s most successful cybersecurity startups like Check Point, Forte, Armis Security, Guardicore, and Wiz, amongst others.
Sentra’s founders include Asaf Kochan, former commander of unit 8200; Yoav Regev, former Colonel and Head of Cyber Department Unit 8200; as well Ron Reiter and Yair Cohen. Combined, the founding team has over 50 years of experience in Israeli Intelligence and cybersecurity.
The Sentra team combines a dozen former Israeli military and defense team members, proven technical and business talent, and seasoned startup veterans and entrepreneurs with deep expertise in building and scaling products and companies.
Which schools produce top cybersecurity talent?
Cybersecurity talent comes from a multitude of backgrounds and prior experience. The education and academic backgrounds of top cybersecurity professionals vary, but they tend to have a strong technical foundation, specialized knowledge, and hands-on experience.
Founders and co-founders are frequently long-time partners whose relationships go back to their college years. Similarly, founders have a tendency to source early hires and talent from their alma mater’s network.
- Two co-founders at Truffle came from the same school, and the other co-founder has hired talent from his alma mater
- Four schools produced over 40% of the talent at Sentra
- Monad’s talent comes from a diverse background of US and international schools
The latest talent entering stealth
Over 200 people who have cybersecurity experience have started a role at a stealth startup since Q4 2022. Who are they and what are they building?
- Over 35% of the talent that has gone from a cybersecurity team to stealth was previously in a product or engineering role
- 1 in 4 of the people was in a VP or C-Suite level role at their previous company
- ~25% of the stealth talent is based in the Bay Area, ~10% of the stealth talent is based in Israel, ~8% of the stealth talent is based in New York
Looking for the most recent stealth talent from a specific company or industry?
Investing in teams and experience
Investing in a company is ultimately a bet on the team and their ability to execute on their vision. By understanding the job histories and backgrounds of the founding team and employees at a company, investors can make more informed investment decisions and identify opportunities for growth and success.
Get real-time insights into the latest founders and growing teams to source deals and perform deeper due dilligence.