Vancouver-based cybersecurity startup Cmd has closed a $19 million CAD Series B funding round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures).
The round also saw participation from previous investors Amplify Partners, and Uber co-founder Garrett Camp’s Expa Capital, as well as additional, undisclosed strategic investors. The $19 million (all numbers CAD) brings Cmd’s total funding across all investment rounds to more than $28 million.
“One of the strong advantages of [our] platform…is that we were approaching this problem in a very different way.”
Jake King, the co-founder and CEO of Cmd, attributes the interest of investors like GV to a “solid pedigree” of early fundraising. “I think one of the things that started to let the folks at GV take really strong notice of us, is the kind of traction that was built with us coming out of stealth,” King told BetaKit. He noted that since Cmd brought its product to market in 2018 it has received positive feedback from much larger organizations than it had expected.
Cmd was founded in 2016 by King, former security operations lead at Hootsuite and Milun Tesovic a current partner at Expa, after the two endured frustrating problems around cybersecurity and user activity in their respective organizations. King noted that it was especially hard to gain visibility or control of security when it came to certain user activities, especially keeping up with the pace of dev ops teams.
The pair originally started looking for other companies offering cybersecurity solutions to help meet their needs but found that most solutions focused on threat detection and preventing ‘zero-day’ attacks. King and Tesovic felt like this did not address the problems everyday security teams were facing and decided to create Cmd. The startup has designed a Linux cybersecurity solution that monitors, detects, prevents, and supports organizations to address “the everyday hygiene issues plaguing security teams.”
“Cmd’s next-generation server security platform is designed to protect production environments, and tailored to the specific needs of large enterprises.”
After developing its product for two years, Cmd brought its platform to market in early 2018 and King noted the surprising success among larger enterprises. Large companies have taken to the platform, even moving from legacy systems to Cmd’s newer and what King called, “more agile” system. The startup lists among its customers Uber, California-based Big Data Analytics platform Qubole, and San Francisco-based HCM software provider Zenefits.
“Cmd’s next-generation server security platform is designed to protect production environments, and tailored to the specific needs of large enterprises to granularly control, monitor, and authenticate user activity,” said Karim Faris, general partner at GV, who now joins Cmd’s advisory board. “Combined with the strong technical expertise of the Cmd founding team, the company’s approach is highly differentiated and uniquely positioned to meet the growing demand for cloud-native security solutions.”
When asked what makes Cmd’s solution so unique compared to similar cybersecurity solutions, King told Betakit that its systems offer not just visibility of threats, but an agile way to address them. Cmd takes into account how humans interact with everyday systems, and by analyzing normal interactions its is easier and quicker, King said, to find what is abnormal behavior and pinpoint security threats.
“One of the strong advantages of [our] platform, and something that Google had noticed as well as the folks at Expa and Amplify, is that we were approaching this problem in a very different way, and it was gaining some really interesting feedback and traction very early on,” King said, “I think they also see a bit of a change in this pivot toward Linux and massive growth in Linux.”
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King told BetaKit that its focus on cybersecurity for Linux systems was of specific interest to GV partner Faris, who King said is “succinctly focused on not only the fact that Linux is a growing environment, but that cloud is a growing environment. [He] understands threats are not necessarily being found by legacy products.”
Cmd is a part of Expa’s “global network of entrepreneurs” which has three branches, Expa Studio, Expa Labs and Expa Capital (which invested in Cmd). King noted that part of its success can be attributed to Expa helping Cmd, not only with investments, but also helping the company “bootstrap” and building Cmd “from the ground up.” According to his LinkedIn, Tesovic joined Expa as a partner in February 2016 after co-founding Cmd in January of that year. King noted to that Tesovic, who is also the executive chair of Cmd, has been a big help in moving the company forward. He emphasized his hopes of Cmd being one of Expa’s success stories.
Cmd plans to use the $19 million to help with scaling its team and overall company growth. It is specifically looking to increase its product and engineering teams and develop new defensive features to be added to its core platform. King also mentioned that Cmd is looking to increase its US presence. The company has already made a number of hires in California handling sales and solution architecture. It is planning to make a few more hires for its US team, but King assured that Cmd plans to keep its engineering and technical teams in Vancouver.
Feature image courtesy Cmd