Today CardinalOps announced their A round, $17.5M led by Viola Ventures with participation by existing investors: Glilot, Battery, Symbol. We are very excited to be an investor with this company, and especially proud to partner with Michael Mumcuoglu and Yair Manor, the founders of the company.
As many in the industry know, this investment is not typical for us. In the past few years, we have not done a lot of work in the cyber space. We did focus on a couple of specific areas such as Identity (PlainID) and Cyber Fintech (nsKnox and EverC), but overall, we did not spend many cycles on next-gen cyber security. In addition, cybersecurity was far away from my own personal focus. As someone who focuses almost 100% of the time in consumer, I was not meeting Cyber Security companies until mid-year 2021.
About a year ago we understood that the world has changed. If in the past we were convinced that Cyber companies are interesting but will never reach Unicorn status, in 2021 we understood that that is not the case anymore. Beyond SentinelOne and Wiz we saw a wide range of excellent Cybersecurity companies emerging, with great technologies and great entrepreneurs. That helped us see that the fundamentals in the industry have changed: The global cyber problems are increasing AND the Israeli entrepreneurs are becoming more and more capable, with a bigger appetite to build category leaders. In that environment it was obvious for us that we need to play in the Cyber space.
However, understanding that Cyber security is relevant was not enough. We needed to identify key areas that were meaningful in our view, and where there are blue oceans (lakes) open for innovation.
We identified a few key trends/opportunities:
- The move to the cloud: Although this is not a blue ocean, the move to the cloud is enabling real changes at the enterprise, and many security solutions are open for disruption. We saw Wiz and Orca succeed in this segment, but there is still room to leverage the move to the cloud for new companies. We decided that the “move to the cloud” is a key enabler for many of the next-gen cyber companies.
- The over investment in cyber tools: 2021 saw a surge in cyber investments, and that means the CISO holds (too) many solutions that are difficult to manage. This also means there is an opportunity to better utilize and manage the cyber portfolio.
- Finally, the big change in how people work opens the market for innovation in cyber solutions beyond the enterprise: Consumer, SMB, remote offices, work from home, etc.
When we met Michael and Yair, it was clear for us that they are leveraging the first 2 trends. They are both great entrepreneurs with excellent knowledge in security. In addition, they truly understand the issues that are faced by the CISO. As such, they developed CardinalOps as a new category that is helping the CISO leverage their portfolio to increase threat coverage. The category “Threat Coverage Optimization” is important as it reflects the gap that exists between the Cyber investment in the enterprise and the actual threat mapping and coverage. The company PR explains perfectly the company focus and thesis. We are very proud to be involved in this company. We hope that CardinalOps will follow the footsteps of great Israeli cyber companies and will reach unicorn status in the next couple of years. We already see the traction with customers, so we know this is an achievable target.