Public cloud security startup Laminar emerges from stealth with $37 million – TechCrunch

The cloud may be the direction in which much of enterprise IT is moving today, it remains a major source of security vulnerabilities, with approximately 98% of all enterprises reporting in a recent survey that they have experienced a cloud-related security breach in the cloud. last 18 months.

Today, a startup called Laminar is coming out of stealth with $37 million in funding with a solution to address how that problem plays out in public cloud architecture, specifically with “agent-less” technology that it says can monitor for data breaches and solve them faster than other cloud security approaches on the market.

The funding is now first disclosed to coincide with the company’s launch, but it will actually come in two tranches: a $32 million Series A led by Insight Partners with participation from SentinelOne, TLV Partners and Meron Capital. , and a $5 million starting round.

SentinelOne, an endpoint security specialist, is the obvious strategic investor on that list, but Insight has also been something of a strategic partner for Tel Aviv-based Laminar. That’s because the startup relied on Insight Ignite, a division of the VC that matches portfolio companies with potential clients to grow their businesses. Laminar says its technology has been tested by “hundreds” of CISOs through the program, with some of them growing into real customers when the service launches commercially in 2022.

It’s always remarkable when a company that hasn’t yet publicly rolled out a product, let alone signed up a customer, manages to land a substantial round of funding. The reason is often that the founders are impressive enough on their own to deserve the bet, and that’s the case with Laminar as well.

Co-founders Amit Shaked (CEO) and Oran Avraham (CTO) are both veterans of Unit 8200, the famed Israeli military intelligence agency that has been the breeding ground for so many other entrepreneurs in the country. A childhood friend, Avrhaham led a team that was a four-time winner of Google’s Capture the Flag online security competition, and when he was just 17, he identified the iPhone’s 3G baseband’s first vulnerability. Shaked worked at Magic Leap for some time. At the time of writing, they are both still under 30.

There are a number of tech companies that have identified the cybersecurity shortcomings of cloud services, leading to several approaches to solve that problem.

In the field of public cloud services, there are others offering solutions, such as Netskope (which was valued at $7.5 billion earlier this year, speaking of the business opportunity here); Microsoft (which recently bolstered its cloud-based cybersecurity profile with its acquisition of CloudKnox earlier this year); vArmour (which is approaching an IPO); and much, much more.

Laminar’s belief is that it has built technology that is faster, easier to use, and more aligned with the realities of how cloud services are designed: apps and services are built and run across multiple public clouds (in Laminar’s case, today the main activity centered around Azure, Google Cloud and AWS, Avraham told me).

Laminar’s approach, Shaked said, is also different for another reason: It’s based on the idea of ​​being proactive rather than reactive. “It’s more about preventing data leakage, rather than assuming something has happened or has already gone wrong,” he said. Typically, large enterprises run on hybrid cloud systems, with three or four providers in multiple geographies, “which makes it more complex.”

The technology is “agentless” and asynchronous to reduce the burden on network operations and data flow, which the company says contrasts with much of the way existing cloud security is built using agents on endpoints or proxies that filter (and slow down) traffic. .

The system, as Shaked described it, starts by building a picture of a company’s managed and unmanaged data landscape (that is, both data actively used in services and data produced by those services, but then simply transferred to ‘shadow’ datastores are placed). This is then used as the basis for a large-scale monitoring operation on how the network is behaving: systems are set up for “sanctioned” data movements, and so when data changes or is moved for any other reason, it is flagged, stopped, and fixed.

Emmet Keeffe, an operating partner at Insight who founded Insight Ignite, said the VC was interested in what Laminar had built, as it suited how it saw the market evolving and a gap emerging.

Previously, he said, companies only paid lip service to the concept of digital transformation. “It was just the theater of the digital in 2018,” he said. “Most of what happened was not real digital change. That all changed in March 2020” – when Covid-19 hit – “when we saw a massive unlock of digital. The first thing that had to be reconsidered then was cybersecurity.” Essentially, “completely unlocking the cloud,” as Keeffe put it, has essentially also led to too much data unlocking. “We came to Laminar because this really needed to be resolved in terms of timing.”

It’s quite remarkable that SentinelOne, an endpoint security specialist, is also investing here: one wonders if the company might be exploring how it can extend the work it’s already delivering with a cloud-native approach, and how it can later become Laminar as partner (or more?) to do this.

“Data and APIs are critical to the functioning of today’s digital society,” SentinelOne CEO Tomer Weingarten said in a statement. “Securing data wherever it resides is the foundation of our Singularity XDR platform – we see Laminar’s approach as complementary in helping our customers secure data in a cloud-first world.”

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