CRN Exclusive: 'Fortuneteller' Network Security Startup Veriflow, Backed By DoD, Seeking Channel Partners

With backing from the U.S. Department of Defense, network startup Veriflow says its unique ability to predict outages and breaches provides rich Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) revenue opportunities for solution providers, and the startup has begun recruiting channel partners.

"We're basically fortunetellers. With our technology, we're going to be able to proactively predict what's going to happen on your network before it actually happens," said Jim Brear, president and CEO of Veriflow, in an interview with CRN. "There's no company today that does that. This is the first time mathematical network verification technology has been feasible."

The Oakland, Calif.-based network breach and outage prevention startup launched out of stealth mode this week with $2.9 million in initiative funding from investors, including the Department of Defense and National Science Foundation. The vendor says it can bulletproof networks by using a mathematical verification approach similar to how NASA's Curiosity rover is able to continue roaming Mars years after landing.

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"The technology itself is perfectly suited for channel partners -- this isn't box-pushing. This isn't just another device," said Brear. "If you have routers, switches, firewalls, Wi-Fi devices, and you want that to be protected in a very unique way and basically have a safety net for when you make changes, it's a homerun across the board. For us to scale, the channel is going to be a massive part of how we're successful."

Veriflow provides software that's deployed as a virtual appliance either on-premise or in the cloud as a service. The startup is seeking to onboard solution providers who specialize in the areas of security compliance, networking and systems integration.

Brear is the former CEO and president of Procera Networks and brings top executive sales experience from Cisco and Force10 Networks, which was acquired by Dell in 2011. He said the company is starting to formulate a partner program and set up a small sales force over the next 90 days.

"We're very excited and interested in identifying channel partners that are looking for pioneering technology," said Brear.

"Partners can actually add significant consulting value in terms of understanding a new reality of what your network is looking like," he said. "From there, it will open up a lot of opportunities for partners to provide value -- whether it's consulting services, professional services, integration services. But it's really a tool that will help add value to the enterprise or carrier."

Veriflow's software applies principals called formal verification to discover ahead of time what could go wrong on a network, with a focus on high-level policy. By using that information, it helps companies apply policies to prevent problems from starting or spreading out further, according to Brighten Godfrey, CTO and co-founder of Veriflow.

"We do mathematical verification of every possible data flow behavior networkwide before it happens. We do that with the depth of going deep into what's called the data plane of the devices," said Godfrey, in an interview with CRN. "So we get a new level of accuracy about the reality of the network."

It uses sophisticated algorithms to prove or disprove the correctness of a system with respect to certain functional specifications -- a process used by organizations like NASA with technologies that absolutely cannot fail, according to Veriflow.

The startup has already generated revenue and is in production networks and lab trials with federal government agencies, as well as with Fortune 500 companies in the financial services, retail, manufacturing, e-commerce and telecom markets. The Veriflow solution is expected to become generally available in the second half of 2016.

Brear said Veriflow will start recruiting partners around July after a formal partner program is created.

"There's no direct competitor to us," said Brear. "We are doing networkwide verification that does go across the whole enterprise."