Pando

In the wake of post-NSA mistrust, Illumio raises $100M to take its software-based security platform global

By Nathaniel Mott , written on April 14, 2015

From The News Desk

Illumio has raised a $100 million Series C funding round to continue working on its software-based security platform, hire more engineers for research and development, and expand sales offices in Singapore and the United Kingdom.

The round brings Illumio's total fundraising to $142 million. New investors include BlackRock Funds and Accel Partners; old investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Formation 8, and General Catalyst also participated in the round. [Disclosure: Accel Partners, and Andreessen Horowitz partners Chris Dixon, Jeff Jordan, and Marc Andreessen, are personal investors in Pando]

The company's product responds to data breaches, malware attacks, and other issues from inside a network's infrastructure. Illumio's chief commercial officer, Alan Cohen, compares the product to a "giant brain" that "constantly monitors and adapts [someone's] security to something happening in the environment."

That brain might eventually be used to make various parts of a company's infrastructure work together to improve security. "We're effectively deputizing other infrastructure into the security mission," Cohen says. Security will soon become the responsibility of every single piece of hardware in the data center.

But perhaps the most interesting thing is the early devotion to expanding the sales presence in Singapore and the UK. All most people have been able to talk about since June 2013 is the fact that many international countries don't trust companies in the United States because of government surveillance programs.

As I wrote when Germany announced that Verizon, which participated in National Security Agency surveillance programs, would be losing a lucrative government contract because its products could no longer be trusted:

Many observers have feared this might happen since the NSA programs were revealed last June. Tech executives warned Obama that their businesses might suffer because of the programs and their inability to discuss them. Their companies are finding it more difficult to pitch their products to people in other countries while analysts believe that the 'dream is over' and that 'the era of US tech dominance in everything from servers to routers to the cloud is facing a crisis of confidence.' Countries like Brazil are threatening to just create their own Internet.
Illumio claims this isn't a problem. "Every country wants better security," Cohen says. "If they can produce it themselves, they will, but if they can’t, they’ll buy it.” And it just so happens that's exactly what Illumio is selling.

Which means a lack of trust in US companies might allow other US companies to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, build offices around the world, and promise a better security solution than could be found anywhere else. It's like taking candy from a baby then opening a sweets shop just a few feet away.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]