Top 22 Cybersecurity Startups to Watch in 2021

Axis SecurityAxis Security Logo

Axis Security provides a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) platform that uses policy controls based on dynamic directory integration, disarm and reconstruct capabilities and application-layer visibility for incident response investigations. The product was built on the zero trust security framework.

In September 2020, Axis Security raised $32 million in Series B funding, for a total of $49 million over three rounds. Also last year, the company introduced the Axis Security Partner Program (ASPP) for VARs, systems integrators, MSSPs, OEM partners and distributors. The goal of this program is to help enterprises offer secure application access for their remote workforce. The two-tier program includes business development opportunities, training, joint marketing, partner collateral, marketing co-op funds, sales leads and field account planning.

BitglassBitglass logo

Bitglass took the opportunity to increase its value by adapting its CASB product to focus on protecting organizations with a remote work ecosystem that has become commonplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its Total Cloud Security Platform combines CASB (cloud access security brokerage), on-device secure web gateways and zero-trust network access to secure endpoints across all devices in a network.

Gartner has named Bitglass a leader in its Magic Quadrant for three years in a row. Bitglass secured Series D funding of $70 million in August 2019 bringing its total venture capital funding to $150 million.

Cado SecurityCado Security Logo

Cado Security made a name for itself by offering the first cloud-native forensics and response platform. The Cado Response platform gives security teams the capability to rapidly respond to threat incidents in cloud or container environments. Most traditional tools used for investigating cyber-attacks cannot assess potential impacts on these environments.

Cado Security is a young startup, founded in 2020, yet it’s already received $1.5 million in seed funding.

Cato NetworksCato Networks Logo

Cato Networks is another SASE provider that has seen a huge boost in attention due to the pandemic. Cato’s platform experienced a 300% increase in remote workers connecting to cloud services over the span of three months.

In November 2020, Cato closed on a $130 million round of funding. This comes after raising $77 million in a previous funding round just six months prior. This latest round brought its valuation up to $1 billion.

ConflueraConfluera Logo

The Confluera product has a strong focus on autonomy, another attractive factor for remote workforces. Its extended detection and response (XDR) solution tracks network traffic and automatically combines the information with machine-comprehended threat detection. It uses this data to show a complete narrative of an attack in real-time, rather than solely logging isolated alerts to help teams intercept threats before they’re able to do damage.

Confluera raised $20 million in series B funding last year. They expect to see growth in the company as they use the money to expand their team.

CybereasonCybereason Logo

Endpoint detection has never been more in-demand due to remote work. Cybereason offers endpoint detection and response (EDR), antivirus and managed detection and response services. It has an automated hunting engine that looks for unusual behavioral patterns, blocks known attacks and aggregates good and bad behavioral data to simplify investigation. 

Its behavioral approach earned it another $200 million in funding from Softbank, bringing its investment total to almost $400 million. This money has been used to expand its core platform into a full endpoint protection portfolio. Additionally, the company has expanded its partnership network into regional markets such as France and Brazil, as well as verticals such as healthcare. Cybereason also made eSecurity Planet‘s list of top EDR solutions.

Darktrace – Threat detectionDarktrace Logo

Darktrace‘s Cyber artificial intelligence (AI) platform detects and fights cyber threats in real-time. It combines the talents of IT specialists from the University of Cambridge with intelligence experts from MI5. Unsupervised machine learning, AI and self-learning technology are used to uncover previously unseen patterns in information. By detecting subtle deviations from an organization’s regular patterns, it is quick to find impending attacks.

It has raised $230 million through seven rounds of funding. Darktrace also made eSecurity Planet‘s list of top IDPS solutions. Meanwhile, the company continues to pick up industry awards and has launched in the AWS Marketplace.

ensoEnso Security Logo

enso is an application security posture management (ASPM) platform aimed at helping developers by providing comprehensive security during the app development process. It’s common for developers and IT teams to run into security issues while building apps and testing them for bugs. The product increases automation security surrounding development to reduce risk.

enso is a young startup, founded in 2020, but its niche focus has garnered plenty of attention. The company has already received $6 million in seed funding.

EthycaEthyca Logo

The foundational concept of Ethyca’s product is compliance. Maintaining regulatory compliance is an essential part of data privacy and should be a key focus for all enterprise organizations. Ethyca automates compliance tasks, including real-time data mapping, automated subject requests, consent management and subject erasure handling.

Investors understand the growing importance of maintaining compliance. This knowledge helped Ethyca gain $13.5 million in funding in June 2020.

IllumioIllumio Logo

Illumio developed adaptive microsegmentation technology to establish a zero trust framework that prevents the spread of breaches inside any data center and cloud. It ensures the correct provisioning of security policies by understanding and adapting to changes in infrastructure or applications.

It has raised $332.5 million in funding from an impressive roster of investors: J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, Formation 8, BlackRock Funds, Accel Partners, and Data Collective, as well as individual investors such as Microsoft Chairman John W. Thompson, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, and Yahoo Co-founder Jerry Yang. The company received a number of industry awards, added container support, and was recognized as a leader in Forrester’s Zero Trust eXtended (ZXT) Ecosystem Providers Report. Illumio landed at #2 on our list of top zero trust vendors.

ImmutaImmuta Logo

Immuta is another vendor focused on regulatory compliance, specifically HIPAA, GDPR and CCPA. Its product automates data management, including access control, to maintain privacy compliance. 

The company raised $40 million in series C funding last year. Immuta was also given the 2020 ISV Rising Star Award from Databricks and was named one of Inc Magazine’s 2020 best places to work in 2020.

IsovalentIsovalent Logo

The flagship Isovalent product, Cilium, offers an infrastructure designed to provide networking, monitoring and security for organizations. Most importantly, it was built to be scalable. The aim is to help organizations secure mission-critical, complex workloads in cloud environments. 

Isovalent is used by large organizations, including Adobe, Capital One and Datadog. The company also has a number of impressive investors, such as Google and Cisco, who led Isovalent to $29 million in Series A funding.

OneTrustOneTrust Logo

OneTrust is a widely used privacy, security and data governance technology platform. The company’s suite of products includes AI-powered discovery and classification, third-party risk exchange, ethics and compliance software, privacy management software and more. The aim is to provide a comprehensive solution to managing security in an increasingly complex regulatory environment.

In December 2020, OneTrust secured $300 million in Series C funding. That makes a whopping $710 million in total funding the company has secured in just 18 months. Their valuation now sits at $5.1 billion, making the company a unicorn five times over.

Orca SecurityOrca Security Logo

Orca Security provides agentless security and compliance for AWS, GCP and Azure. The company’s offering places it in a prime spot as the adoption of cloud computing continues to grow. Its patent-pending Side-Scanning technology uses environmental context to prioritize risks, including vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, malware, compromised passwords and more.

Founded two years ago in 2019, Orca Security has already received $82 million in funding. A series B funding round that gave the company $55 million came only seven months after a Series A round.

Perimeter 81Perimeter 81 logo

Perimeter 81 offers multiple security products but the one that’s currently garnering attraction is their new Zero Trust Application Access solution. This product offers agentless, zero-trust accessibility, capitalizing on the least privileged access trend.

In 2019, the company integrated with SentinelOne, another startup on this list, to ensure that endpoints are fully compliant and protected before they’re granted access to the Perimeter 81 cloud-based network. Perimeter 81 also teamed with SonicWall in 2020 to make it possible for businesses to connect to a single secure network and gain access to physical and cloud resources from any location.

The company received $40 million in Series B funding in 2020. Gartner also named Perimeter 81 on their Cool Vendor list in 2019.

PrivafyPrivafy Logo

The Privafy product was designed to secure “data-in-motion.” This is a valuable corner of the market, as an estimated 80 percent of all data breaches occur while data is traveling between cloud networks.

Another aspect of the company’s attraction is that it offers multiple products that specialize in a few key markets. These include CarrierEdge for telecommunications service providers, MicroEdge for the IoT industry and CloudEdge for enterprises. Privafy received $22 million in funding in 2020.

RandoriRandori Logo

Randori is a unique vendor in that its product doesn’t offer protection itself, but instead bills itself as the world’s first automated breach and attack simulation (BAS) platform. The company’s mission is “to ensure every organization has a trusted adversary to practice against.” The Randori platform mirrors malicious attackers by emulating all stages of a real-world attack. This reveals vulnerabilities in networks and their potential impact.

Randori hired big names in security in 2020, including former Qualys VP of Engineering Ken Shelton, hacker Aaron Portnoy and veteran CISO Aaron Fodisck. In the same year, the company received $20 million in Series A funding.

SECURITI.aiSECURITI.ai Logo

SECURITI.ai is another vendor aiming to fight fire with fire against advanced cyber attacks that use AI and machine learning tactics. The company implements AI into its security product to help organizations secure data while automating privacy and compliance.

This startup has experienced sizable growth recently, expanding its team from 160 employees up to 200 over the last year. SECURITI.ai secured $50 million in Series B funding last year after receiving $31 million in a Series A round in 2019.

SentinelOneSentinelOne Logo

SentinelOne protects against executables, memory-only malware, exploits in documents, spearphishing emails, macros, drive-by downloads and other browser exploits, scripts such as Powershell, and credential encroachments. It harnesses behavioral-based detection, mitigation and forensics to attempt to stop threats in real-time. It is the top-rated endpoint protection platform on Gartner Peer Insights, has launched a research division and is now available on the AWS Marketplace.

In 2020 it raised $267 million in Series F funding led by Tiger Global Management, with participation from Sequoia Capital Global Equities and existing investors, including Insight Partners and Third Point Ventures. To date, it has raised $430 million in funding, bringing its valuation to $3 billion. SentinelOne also made our list of top EDR vendors.

SpiderSilkSpiderSilk Logo

What’s impressive about this startup is SpiderSilk’s proprietary internet scanner. It maps out a company’s assets and network attack surface to detect vulnerabilities. It can also simulate cyberattacks, making it a BAS system.

SpiderSilk proved the effectiveness of the scanner by discovering some big data breaches in the last two years, including the following:

  • The breach of the social network, Blind, that exposed private complaints by Silicon Valley employees
  • A leak of highly sensitive Samsung source code
  • A public code repository revealed app data, code and apartment building camera footage belonging to the facial recognition startup Clearview AI
  • A massive leak of unencrypted customer card numbers held by MoviePass

This achievement helped SpiderSilk secure $2.25 million in a pre-series A round of funding.

Ubiq SecurityUbiq Security Logo

Ubiq Security offers an API-based platform that makes it quick and easy for developers to integrate data encryption directly into applications. When performed manually, this is a time-consuming task that often requires experienced developers.

The company was founded in 2019 but has already amassed an impressive catalog of big-name customers, including the United States Army, the Department of Homeland Security, Verizon and Hitachi. In 2020, Ubiq Security received $6.4 million in seed funding.

VdooVdoo

Another vendor targeting the security of remote work ecosystems, Vdoo offers a device security platform to protect network endpoints. The solution provides security analysis, gap resolution, embedded protection, operations monitoring, compliance validation and actionable insights. It’s also desirable because it can be tailored to specific use cases.

Vdoo secured $32 million in series B funding in 2019. This amounts to a total of $55 million of funding for the startup.

What are investors looking for in cybersecurity startups in 2021?

Some of the biggest factors venture investors are looking for in startups are uniform across the board for any technology vertical. However, there are some factors that are unique in 2021, namely due to the pandemic.

Startups with scalability and lean research and development

Scalability will always be one of the most important factors for those looking to invest in a successful startup. When there are opportunities for growth, startups should be ready to capitalize on them immediately.

Investors are also looking for startups that can continue to improve their products without the need for substantial capital investment. Lean research and development show efficiency, even with limited resources. This will also allow investors to watch the product and business model evolve over time before investing even more capital.

Startups with a solid business plan

Another factor investors have always looked for is an air-tight business plan. They want assurance that there is a real, widespread problem that the product solves. Investors also want to see financial reports and projections of revenue growth backed up by market analysis.

Compliance

Regulatory compliance, such as HIPAA, GDPR and CCPA are essential for organizations collecting and protecting user information, which includes virtually all enterprise-level companies. Investors will be looking for startups that can ensure customers will maintain compliance.

Startups who can support remote work

Remote work is and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, a top-of-mind factor for venture capitalists. Even though vaccines are starting to be administered, a largely remote workforce is likely here to stay.

Startups that can immediately impact the remote worker ecosystem will garner a lot of attention. Specifically, startups with SaaS (software-as-a-service), those that provide automation, and products that include endpoint protection will fall into this category.

How Covid-19 impacted cybersecurity

The impact of Covid-19 on the cybersecurity industry is reportedly expected to hit $230 billion this year, exhibiting a CAGR of 12% during the forecast period. This report also projected that because of the boom in remote work, endpoint security is expected to grow at the highest rate of any cybersecurity segment.

Products like Endpoint Protection Platforms (EPP) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions secure the devices spanning a remote ecosystem and will continue to be invaluable. The healthcare segment, in particular, will likely see the largest investment in cybersecurity due to telehealth and teleworking models.

Kyle Guercio
Kyle Guercio has worked in content creation for six years contributing blog posts, featured news articles, press releases, white papers, and more for a wide variety of subjects in the technology space. He covers topics relating to servers and cybersecurity and has contributed to ServerWatch and Webopedia.com.

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