9-month-old cybersecurity startup Wiz raised $100 million without a pitch deck, has never met in person, and is already thinking IPO
- The cybersecurity startup Wiz, which shows companies all their cloud computing systems in one view, just landed a $100 million Series A round.
- The booming 30-person company started in March and has Fortune 100 customers despite never being in one place together. The company says it's on pace for $2 million in annual revenue after less than a year of existence.
- The four cofounders were drafted into the Israeli army together in 2001, and sold a startup to Microsoft for $320 million in 2015. They say that this time, however, the goal is an IPO.
- Investor and Sequoia global managing partner Doug Leone believes a half-billion-dollar valuation for Wiz "wouldn't be far off."
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Some startups get off to a fast start. And then there's the cybersecurity startup Wiz, which was seemingly shot out of a cannon.
The 30-person company is 9 months old, but this week got its first funding in the form of a $100 million Series A round – without even using a traditional pitch deck – and is already thinking about going public. That round was led by Index Ventures, with participation from Sequoia, Insight Partners and Cyberstarts.
The company says that in the nine months since March, it has gone from its first line of code to landing customers among the Fortune 100. Six months after the product was actually released, the company says that it's on track for $2 million in annual revenue.
Like many overnight successes, however, Wiz's path actually began years ago, when four fresh draftees into the Israeli army's renowned 8200 cybersecurity unit became friends.
"Three of us were drafted on the same day in 2001," says Assaf Rappaport, Wiz CEO. "We never would have guessed at that time that someday someone would give us a check for $100 million. That's crazy."
After their time in the Israeli Defense Force, the cofounders started Adallom, a cybersecurity startup acquired by Microsoft for $320 million in 2015 to become a part of Microsoft's Cloud Security Group.
The four cofounders – CEO Rappaport, product chief Yinon Costica, CTO Ami Luttwak, and developer chief Roy Reznik – are joined by a team largely drawn from their Adallom startup days. But getting acquired is not the plan this time, Rappaport says.
"IPO, that's where we're going," the CEO says confidently.
He can't say when, but hopes to get the team together in person before then. Hatched in COVID, the team of the booming startup, now working remotely in New York and Tel Aviv, has never all been in one place together.
A better way to look at cloud servers
Wiz gives companies one view of all its cloud servers, "a single pane of glass" in industry parlance. The single view was a staple of on-premise cybersecurity, provided by legacy companies such as McAfee and Palo Alto Networks. Cybersecurity pros took it for granted that they could see into all their on-premises servers in one place, and scan for vulnerabilities.
It's harder to do in the modern era, however, when companies are increasingly using a hodgepodge of cloud services from vendors like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft in conjunction with their own servers.
"This was a piece that was left out of cloud security," says Wiz cofounder Costica, VP of products. "There was no product that showed you your entire cloud."
That idea has resonated with notable names in Silicon Valley. "Their past experiences executing at scale and their hunger to build an enduring company will help Wiz lead the market," says Sequoia global managing partner Doug Leone, who believes a half-billion-dollar valuation "wouldn't be far off."
Customers are also praising the young company. "My team couldn't believe how easy it was to get Wiz up and running," says Emily Heath, chief trust and security officer at Docusign, a Wiz customer. "The instant, out-of-the-box visibility and value it provides make one of the best security tools I've seen in a long time."
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