Ex-Cisco CEO John Chambers Helps Fund Security Startup Balbix

Breach avoidance platform startup Balbix raised $20 million in a Series B funding round that included support from former Cisco CEO and Executive Chairman John Chambers.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company said it plans to use the funds to expand its go-to-market strategy and accelerate growth. The funding round was led by Singtel Innov8 and Mubadala Ventures, and comes just 12 months after an $8 million funding round.

Balbix CEO Guarav Banga said he first connected with Chambers through former Cisco EVP and Chief Development Officer Pankaj Patel, who also participated in the funding round. Being mentored by two people intricately involved with building a business like Cisco will be very valuable, according to Banga.

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"John Chambers is a special individual. He's one of the world's most accomplished CEOs," Banga said. "That whole package is very, very powerful for people like me who are trying to learn the ropes and build a great company."

Chambers, for his part, said in a statement that Balbix's innovative approach to improving cyber-resilience has made the company a leader in the space.

"Balbix is taking a game-changing approach to address the most fundamental cybersecurity challenges of today, including the ever-increasing volume and complexity of major breaches," said Chambers, who since departing Cisco founded and runs JC2 Ventures. "The company's potential impact on the market is exponential."

Balbix was founded in 2015 and launched out of stealth a year ago. The company employs 40 people, and plans to double the size of its go-to-market organization from 10 to 20 in the coming months, according to Banga.

Specifically, Banga said Balbix plans to strengthen its partner program by bringing in more salespeople, architects and delivery people who can provide partners with tools, enablement and training and run their marketing and educational programs. Roughly a quarter of Balbix's sales go through the channel today, a figure the company hopes to grow to at least 75 percent within the next three years.

From a technology standpoint, Banga said Balbix hopes to use the funding to improve the company's scalability when dealing with bigger and more complex environments. Additionally, Banga said context really helps when dealing with more complex businesses, specifically as it relates to how the business is implemented as well as areas of strength and pain points.

The company uses deep learning and other advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to gather and analyze data about an enterprise's attack surface, producing relevant insights for different stakeholders.

As a result, Balbix said it's able to predict when and how breaches are likely to happen, as well as provide specific prescriptions and workflow support to improve security posture, develop cyber-resilience, and avoid breaches. The company said it has achieved strong market traction with both enterprise customers as well as managed security service providers (MSSPs) around the globe.

In addition to the infusion of funding, Balbix said it has also hired Jeff True as its chief revenue officer and Chris Griffith as its vice president of business development and alliances. True mostly recently spent three years at digital risk monitoring provider Balbix, where he was vice president of worldwide sales.

Griffith, meanwhile, spent the past nine years at HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, culminating in a stint as global director of business development, security and information governance. Balbix additionally appointed former Cisco EVP and Chief Development Officer Pankaj Patel, entrepreneur Gary Gauba and Singtel Innov8 managing management Jeff Karras to its board of directors.