When dealing with cybersecurity there is no reason you have to be stuck using a WAF system that has not been updated in a decade. It disregards DevOps and Agile frameworks and is not cloud-based. Introducing Signal Sciences, the answer to your security needs. The founders of this Venice-based startup met while working at Etsy and soon quit their jobs. Now they have created the necessary security software that Etsy is using along with other big names such as Namely, Under Amour, and Prezi. With a new round of funding Signal Science is slowly becoming a bigger and bigger force in the security world.
CEO Andrew Peterson spoke with LA TechWatch and discussed the cybersecurity sector as well as 2nd round of funding that the company has raised.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
This round of funding was a series A funding round of $9.7 million. Our investors were, Michael Dearing, Founder & Investor from Harrison Metal, Bryce Roberts, Co-founder & Managing Director from O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV), Shardul Shah, Partner from Index Ventures. Shardul from Index was the lead.
Tell us about your product or service.
Signal Sciences is the application security platform that all modern engineering teams need to enable the move to cloud, agile, and DevOps because it provides visibility and a feedback loop to your entire development team on the security health of your application that they’ve never had before and desperately need.
What inspired you to start the company?
The founding team was working on the application security problem at Etsy. Etsy’s been a known leader and frontrunner in the DevOps movement. So as we built the security practice, it was clear that legacy approaches were not going to work for us. When you update your development and infrastructure to modern models, traditional approaches to application security offerings fall apart. It was out of these failures, and the learning we gained from building new security concepts for Etsy, that Signal Sciences was born.
For about a year we heard consistent feedback from security peers on two things:
- The problems we were addressing at Etsy were the same problems our colleagues and peers at other enterprises suffered from as well.
- Very few enterprises have the team and resources required to build an effective web app security solution themselves.
There was a clear need and opportunity and a team with experience to address it. So we took the leap.
How is it different?
We’re trying to solve a fundamentally different problem that traditional WAF (web application firewall) solutions. WAF technology was developed a decade ago and doesn’t address the challenges facing modern engineering teams embracing cloud, agile, and DevOps.
This is exactly what Signal Sciences Next Generation WAF entails:
- Signal Sciences is built cloud first.
- We’re built to be deployed the way modern apps are deployed
- We’re focused on security awareness and visibility, not blind blocking.
- We’re designed to bring that awareness to your whole development team, not just your security team.
- We provide detection and protection without sacrificing meaningful traffic due to blocking false positives.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Our target market is mid-sized to large enterprises looking for security visibility and blocking for their application infrastructure. We are mostly focused on those enterprises that are embracing cloud, DevOps, continuous deployment, and other modern web application techniques and processes as they are experiencing the highest need right now. The market is a multi-billion dollar market that we hope to tackle over the coming years.
What’s your business model?
Signal Sciences is a software as a service based security offering focused on web application security. We charge as an annual service by the application you are looking to protect. We scale seamlessly with cloud deployment models and can integrate into any architecture you are currently using.
What did you take with you after leaving Etsy that you integrated into Signal Science?
By far the focus on the community! The heart of Etsy is their community and they’ve understood and focused on them from the very beginning. Security is no different. It’s a community of professionals with a massive responsibility to the safety of their companies and customers. We are 100% focused on helping the security community with this responsibility.
What was the funding process like?
We were very fortunate to get interest from an incredible group of investors, many of which we’ve known well before starting Signal Sciences.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Fundraising can disrupt the rest of the challenges you face everyday trying to get a startup off the ground. We’re lucky to have 3 cofounders so that we could split time to focus on fund raising while simultaneously keep the business and product development going. Not every team has that luxury and day-to-day work can stall/suffer as a result.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
The market we are going after is very large and we have a great technology to capture the value in the market. Once the technology and team were lined up the investors were eager to come on board and help guide us to success.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
In the next six months we are going to be expanding our marketing and sales reach to help bring Signal Sciences into more enterprises. We’ve spent the last year building an amazing service, now it’s time to help the world become more secure.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
It’s always hard when you are running super lean on your capital. The trick is to not give up. Stay focused on making improvements on whatever it is you are selling, be it technology or a traditional product. Once you have a solid product, the customers will come, and eventually so will the funding.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In the near term it’s about expanding our sales and marketing reach while continuing to focus on making the best possible technology to solve the problems that are customers are facing. I see us growing and continuing to create solutions that make our customers successful.
What is your favorite LA bar, when you need to kick back and relax?
Any bar that serves alcohol J
Really love a local spot for us down the street called Zinque Café. They’re open early for breakfast meetings but turn into a relaxing, open-air bar in the evening. Great for working, people watching, or just relaxing with friends over a drink.