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May 25, 2021

Reunited and It Feels So Good: Norwest Leads Uptycs’ $50M Series C Financing

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Six months after leaving Comcast Ventures and resigning from the Uptycs Board of Directors (as per my transition), I’m very excited to now be reunited with the amazing Uptycs team and investors. The legendary words of Peaches & Herb reverberating… “Reunited, and it feels so good.”

Venture investors often lament that they have imperfect information when investing and fear the first board meeting when skeletons are revealed. Well in this instance, that couldn’t be further from reality as I was involved with Uptycs since their incubation via Comcast Venture’s series seed financing. So, it was my perfect information on Uptycs that was the bedrock of the investment thesis for leading the Series C here at Norwest.

Uptycs has come a very long way since ideation, but the foundational vision by founders Ganesh, Uma, and Mike of creating a unified security analytics platform remains steadfast. But why is this hard you may ask?  For starters, the sustained explosive growth of cloud everything. Consider that AWS is a $54B revenue run-rate business growing 32%, Azure cloud is likely north of $30B (Microsoft doesn’t disclose just cloud) growing 50% and GCP cloud is likely north of $10B (again, cloud alone isn’t disclosed) growing close to 50%. The impact of cloud computing is underscoring the criticality. Second, a true platform that supports multiple needs is aspirational for most and rarely accomplished for early-stage companies.  Crossing the proverbial chasm with a point/niche product in security creates an operational challenge for security practitioners as they wind up with an unmanageable number of vendors. So, Uptycs’ audacious strategy from the onset of building multiple solutions was arguably exceedingly ambitious but was critical to meet customer needs.

Cybersecurity is a hugely dynamic industry with very talented and well-compensated adversaries and building a durable and multi-faceted platform to investigate and thwart attackers at scale is very complex.  Uptycs unique technology advantage stems from the decades of prior experience (read: grey hair) that the team possesses in building scalable security platforms for the world’s largest networks coupled with utilization of the powerful osquery open-source framework.

osquery is a universal endpoint agent which can collect and normalize data across macOS, Linux, Windows, and container environments. It exposes an operating system as a database that can be explored using SQL. First released by Facebook in 2014, the osquery project is today managed by The Linux Foundation and has over 100 releases contributed by the more than 300 developers who seek to continuously extend its functionality. Recently, Uptycs introduced two open-source connectors – kubequery and cloudquery, which extend osquery deployments beyond the endpoint, incorporating Kubernetes cluster data and cloud provider telemetry from AWS, GCP, Azure respectively. Next, the Uptycs team plans to focus on extending osquery for SaaS applications (Salesforce, GitHub, etc.) and Identity Providers (Okta, GSuite, Auth0, etc.) to cover the necessary range of the modern, cloud-native attack surface.

Uptycs takes a highly effective telemetry-powered and proactive approach to security, using lightweight connectors and sensors to stream telemetry from different classes of the attack surface (i.e., endpoints, container orchestrators, SaaS applications) into the Uptycs Security Analytics Platform for analysis. This allows the platform to solve for multiple use cases across the security org including cloud workload protection, cloud security posture management, and extended detection and response.

To boot, we’re stoked to have ServiceNow join us in this Series C financing. Partnering with ServiceNow for the second time on a new investment, I have firsthand exposure to the benefits of their partnership and investment.