Why We Invested in Awake Security

Energize Ventures is thrilled to join Awake Security’s $36M Series C financing round

Energize Ventures
April 15, 2020

Awake Security, the leading network traffic analysis tool for cybersecurity, announced its Series C capital raise led by Evolution Equity Partners with participation from Energize Ventures, Greylock Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, Liberty Global, and other existing investors. With Energize’s investment, Juan Muldoon is joining the Awake board as an observer to help accelerate the company’s growth in power, energy, manufacturing and other critical infrastructure verticals.

Protecting the Broader Enterprise Attack Surface

The future of power, energy, manufacturing, critical infrastructure, and other asset-intensive sectors is increasingly digital. As companies and assets become more connected, security threats grow. Enterprise-wide Information Technology (IT) and asset-specific Operational Technology (OT) are converging and, by default, the attack surface is broader and more complex. Today’s global workforce environment is highly distributed, leaving organizations of all sizes more vulnerable to an increasingly sophisticated breed of cyber-attacks. More than ever, cybersecurity teams need visibility, detection, and response tools across the entire enterprise’s attack surface.

However, many industrial customers are flying blind when it comes to their true cyber risk exposure. With more connected assets, employees, and applications than ever, it can be difficult for cybersecurity teams to properly distinguish between normal and malicious activity — especially when insider threats are involved.

Awake is bringing a modern — and transparent — approach to network traffic analysis. With a platform meant to span the new network across on-premise, hybrid, and cloud, Awake helps organizations continuously monitor their full environment. This way, customers can process a more complete picture of the data flow and correlate anomalous activities among previously siloed applications and systems.

Awake makes it easy for in-house cyber teams to understand complex relationships that would otherwise require a degree of expertise not common at the enterprise level. In turn, these teams can focus their efforts on the risk management decisions that require human operators.

Critical Gap for Critical Infrastructure

While network traffic analysis as a tool is industry-agnostic, Awake’s solution is especially relevant for the heavy industry sectors Energize focuses on.

Industrial companies are shifting from a fully on-premise IT architecture to a hybrid, with applications and workloads managed in the cloud as well as legacy systems that need to be maintained. With more connected assets and employees bringing their own devices to work, there is greater volume of vulnerable endpoints. In addition, this sector relies heavily on third party contractors, which limits visibility and increases potential risk. The industrial enterprise security posture has largely shifted from “protect and prevent” to “assume breach.”

We know from our research that most cybersecurity teams in power, utilities, manufacturing, oil and gas, and other critical infrastructure companies are resource-constrained. More than 53 percent of organizations report a “problematic shortage” of cybersecurity skills [1]. While threat prevention tools are broadly adopted, there is a significant gap in modern detection and response systems equipped to combat new threats. The industry needs better resources to augment in-house cybersecurity teams and level the talent gap in threat hunting and analysis. We believe the combination of Awake’s platform and Managed Detection and Response service will be a strong fit for the industrial market sector.

Team Positioned to Win

The Awake team has a special mix of commercial and technical DNA. Through getting to know CEO Rahul Kashyap and his all-star leadership team, we’ve been fortunate to experience the incredible company culture they’ve built at Awake. Across the organization, the team is innovative and ambitious, yet focused on execution and results. Above all, Awake is customer-driven — a key characteristic to deliver value in the energy and industrial world. Beyond providing a next-generation tool, the team aims to develop real partnerships with their customers to enable a more comprehensive security solution. Rahul and the rest of the Awake team and board are inspiring to work with.

Executing the Playbook in Energy and Industry

Utilities, power producers, manufacturing facilities and other critical infrastructure players are high-value targets in today’s cybersecurity landscape. Unfortunately, many are also ill-prepared to deal with a more complex attack surface. The Energize team is familiar with the importance of this problem and the space, and we believe the market is ready. We are excited to accelerate Awake’s traction in the industrial world with this round of funding, and we look forward to helping the company develop the muscles it needs to be the leader in network traffic analysis for hybrid environments.

We are proud to welcome the Awake team to the Energize family!

[1] Center for Cyber Security and Education, 2019