With breaches and hacks of all kinds taking place across the globe these days, IT security is no longer an option… it’s flat out mandatory.
The cybersecurity space is growing rapidly. Market research firm Gartner says global spending on IT security is set to increase 8.2 percent in 2015 to $77 billion, and the world will spend $101 billion on information security in 2018.
Here in Boston, we have some big players in security – Veracode, Bit9 + Carbon Black, and Rapid7, who had a very successful IPO last month, just to name a few.
Just West of Boston, overlooking the Charles River in Waltham, MA, lives another security firm, focused on the ever-so-important ‘cloud.’ This four-year old company is less heard from than its fellow Massachusetts counterparts, but is viewed as a leader in cloud cybersecurity solutions. Who is this sleeping giant? CloudLock, the cloud data security company that enables control of data while gaining the collaboration and cost savings benefits of the cloud.
Meet the Founders
CloudLock was founded in 2011 by three tech and security veterans - Gil Zimmermann (CEO), Ron Zalkind (CTO) and Tsahy Shapsa (VP, Business Development). Inside the company’s headquarters (the former legendary waltham watch factory) Zimmermann told me they founded the company with a clear vision in mind: “To turn cloud cybersecurity into an enabler for people and businesses.”
All three founders have Israeli roots and ventured to the US for various reasons. Zimmermann first came to the States in the second grade when his family moved to Irvine, CA. He eventually found himself back in Israel during his junior year of high school. A wiz behind the keyboard, Zimmermann was recruited into an intense military computer-training program, which he described to me as, “Top Gun for nerds.”
It was there where Zimmermann and Zalkind first met.
In 1997 Zimmerman was recruited into Sun Microsystems as the third employee in the European operations before leaving nearly four years later after the company’s IPO. Knowing he’d eventually look to start his own company he ventured into the startup world to, “Learn on someone else’s dime.”
After falling victim to the dot com era, he landed in Boston with EMC where he’d remain until 2006.
The beginning of CloudLock
In 2007 Zimmermann, Zalkind, and Shapsa launched Aprigo with $3 million in funding to provide Storage & Security Management as a service to mid-sized and small businesses, for all their file data on-premises and in the cloud.
“When we first launched the cloud version of our product it was a breathe of fresh air. It all fell into place and became clear. We were suddenly one click away from demonstrating value,” Zimmermann explained. “We landed a $75,000 contract with Facebook in just two weeks and pulled in $1 million in revenue our first year with the cloud offering.”
Realizing the on-premises business wasn’t a long-term solution, they pivoted Aprigo and re-launched as CloudLock in 2011 – focusing strictly on cloud cyber security.
The trio raised $3 million in 2008 and grew steadily before raising an $8.7 million Series B round in 2012 from new investor Ascent Venture Partners and existing investor Cedar Fund, with whom Zimmermann previously held the role of Entrepreneur in Residence.
2014 proved to be a big year for the growing cloud security firm as they secured a $16.5 million Series C round of funding (new investor Bessemer Venture Partners, and participation of existing investors Cedar Fund, and Ascent Venture Partners) and made their first acquisition in June when it acquired the intellectual property of UK based, Innovode Ltd., where CloudLock’s European office remains today. Then, in November, it closed an additional $6.7 million in financing from salesforce.com to help ramp up growth.
Today, the company, who has raised a total of $38 million to date and now employs more than 130 full-timers (up from 40 at the start of 2014), is expanding its office with an additional 6,000 square feet of space inside the old watch factory in Waltham.
The industry’s first cloud Cybersecurity-as-a-Service offering
Last week, CloudLock raised the bar even further when it announced the industry’s first cloud Cybersecurity-as-a-Service offering for any cloud environment, including off-the-shelf SaaS, IaaS (Infrastructure), PaaS (Platform), IDaaS (Identity), as well as custom and homegrown cloud apps. Additionally, CloudLock announced it has expanded its cloud security fabric to independent software vendors (ISVs) through a suite of cybersecurity APIs, allowing them to integrate CloudLock’s security services directly into their cloud offerings as if they were their own.
In a statement, Zimmermann had the following to say about the announcement:
“CloudLock makes security an enabler of innovation, not a roadblock. It’s not about telling your users what not to do; it’s about helping them achieve what they need to do their jobs better. Our approach bakes security into the cloud through a cloud-native strategy that puts security first. Customers can now set the highest security and compliance bars for the applications they buy, build, and sell. It can no longer be an afterthought.”
Where to now?
Zimmermann, who was recently awarded E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year honors, is hyper-focused on growing out his team with the best talent he can find. While giving me a tour of CloudLock’s soon-to-open addition, the CEO said he expects the team to be about 165 by year’s end and also anticipates another growth round of funding in 2015 in order to support the “triple digit revenue growth” the company is experiencing.
“We’re 100% subscription business and no one else has the platform we’ve built. We’re tackling really challenging problems and our team is all on this roller coaster together,” Zimmermann touted.
There’s one thing for sure, the Maverick of the keyboard may be an Israeli native, but he certainly carries Boston pride. Not only is he planning to keep CloudLock here, but he hopes the company he co-founded some four years ago helps put the east coast atop the security leaderboard.
“I love the attitude that exists on the east coast and in Boston, specifically. Boston likes to take on and solve real problems. The brain trust in this region is so well equipped to attack serious business solutions and we’re proud to be among those taking on stuff that really matters.”