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April 21 – DC Inno: 7 DC-Area Cybersecurity Startups to Watch

By: Chris Bing

April 21, 2015

Here at DC Inno, we spend a lot of time tracking the red-hot cybersecurity sector in D.C., Virginia and Maryland, both in government and in business. But to get a sense of where security technology is headed, you need to look no further than some of the new startups on the scene in the D.C. area. Below is our list of some of the top cybersecurity tech startups we are following.

TaaSera (McLean, Va.)

TaaSera focuses on cyberthreat prevention and damage mitigation, otherwise called preemptive breach detection. On April 1, the startup announced it secured a $4.1 million bridge funding round as part of a $15 million Series B financing. A group of individual, private angel investors led the round, and TaaSera has yet to receive institutional VC funding. TaaSera—  with an office in Cupertino, Calif., in addition to McLean—is assisted by a heavy-hitting, 10-person group of advisory board members, which includes Tom Ridge, the twice-elected Governor of Pennsylvania and Chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s National Security Task Force.

PhishMe (Leesburg, Va.)

PhishMe aims to offer a unique platform that trains employees to identify, report and mitigate “spear phishing” attacks. Spear phishing attacks are typically fraudulent email messages appearing to come from legitimate enterprises so as to infiltrate a database. The idea behind PhishMe is to reduce the human error element that can lead to malicious system infiltrations. In late March,PhishMe secured a $13 million Series B funding round led by led by District-based Paladin Capital Group — an experienced investor in cybersecurity technologies with 38 cyber investments over the last decade.

Lookingglass Cyber Solutions (Baltimore, Md.)

Lookingglass Cyber Solutions is known for its threat intelligence management system, which delivers content, context and visibility regarding cyberthreat risks and security operations. recently announced the acquisition of CloudShield LLC, a Deep Packet Processing (DPP) platform provider, along with news that its revenue growth exceeded 240 percent. In late March, the firm raised a $20 million Series B led by Neuberger Berman Private Equity Funds. The firm

SurfWatch Labs (Sterling, Va.)

SurfWatch Labs, formerly named HackSurfer, is working to bridge that gap between business executives and their cyber defense teams. Instead of providing overwhelming amounts of low threat-level intelligence that can bury information, SurfWatch Labs’ approach works to reveal easily comprehendible cybercrime influences. By continuously monitoring personalized cyber risk key performance indicators (KPIs), the company designs cybersecurity as a strategic, foundational component of a business’s operation. In April 2014, SurfWatch secured a $3.5 million seed funding via Washington, D.C.-based CNF Investments and Boulder Ventures. Then in February, the startup secured another $5.2 million in the form of a Series A, according to an SEC filing.

Distil Networks (Arlington, Va.)

Founded in 2011, Distil has developed a platform for Bot detection and mitigation while offering one of the first SaaS solutions focused on stopping automated attacks to make a businesses’ web more secure. This startup, with offices in San Francisco and Arlington, has raised $17 million through eight rounds and 11 different investors. Investment firms Techstars, Militello Capital and IDEA Fund Partners are all recurring investors in the company. A source familiar with Distil’s $10 million Series A previously told TechCrunch that the round valued the cybersecurity startup at about $30 million. Distil has said that it works with a group of Fortune 500 companies and has now blocked 42 billion “bad bots.”

ThreatConnect (Arlington, Va.)

ThreatConnect has developed what it calls a Threat Intelligence Platform for large companies, which brings together incident response, defense and threat analysis tools to cyber defense teams. Previously known as Cyber Squared, the company raised $4 million in a Series A funding in December led by Grotech Ventures. ThreatConnect has since used the money to advance its products and to expand into a global market. On Feb. 10, the company announced a partnership with Wapack Labs Corporation, enabling some Wapack subscribers to integrate their existing intelligence feeds into the ThreatConnect marketplace.

Invincea (Fairfax, Va.)

Invincea has developed software to detect malware threats, enable end-user threat protection, and provide pre-breach forensic analysis. Grotech Ventures— an investment firm with expansive cybersecurity experience—is an early and ongoing investor in the company. On April 8, the research division of Invincea landed a federally backed $8.1 million cybersecurity deal. The company said in a news release that the money would be used for developing new technologies that will identify and protect against malware, especially on Android devices. Founded in 2009, the company has raised $45.5 million to date through four rounds and five investors — including a $21.4 million U.S. Army contract in 2012.

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