The 10 Coolest Security Startups Of 2015

A Booming Industry

With hundreds of security startups attending the RSA Conference this year, there’s plenty of noise in the security market when it comes to new entrants. All are looking to grab a piece of an exploding market for security technologies -- a market that is expected by market researcher Gartner to reach $75.4 billion in 2015. The 10 startups that made CRN's list this year of coolest security startups came to market with innovations in data security, mobile, cloud and more. They distinguished themselves through the year by nabbing top-notch executives, grabbing hefty amounts of venture capital funding and launching innovative solutions that aimed to solve the security challenges that plague businesses today.

Take a look at 10 security startups that stood out from the crowd this year.


CEO: Gonen Fink

As breaches continue to plague businesses in all industries, LightCyber -- whose U.S. headquarters is in Los Altos, Calif., and whose Israel headquarters is in Ramat Gan -- looks to help companies detect breaches and remediate them with its Magna Active Breach Detection platform. With more and more of the security industry moving to an acceptance that protection technologies aren’t enough, LightCyber’s platform works to detect hackers already inside of the environment by identifying anomalous behavior at the network and endpoint level, and then helping to stop the breach. LightCyber has gained high-profile attention this year for its technology, most notably landing a personal equity investment from Check Point founder and serial security investor Schlomo Kramer, who also joined the startup’s board of directors. More recently, the startup reinforced its commitment to the channel with the early launch of its first, two-tier partner program.

Cato Networks

CEO: Shlomo Kramer

One of the youngest security startups on this list, Cato Networks has created what it calls the next chapter in network security. Founded by Check Point and Imperva founder Shlomo Kramer and cloud-based Web application security expert Gur Shatz, the Tel Aviv-based company emerged from stealth this year with a Network Security-as-a-Service offering that aims to help companies move away from appliance-based network security to a solution delivered and managed in the cloud. In October, the company landed $20 million in Series A funding from U.S. Venture Partners and Aspect Ventures. Its solution is in beta right now and will be generally available in the first half of 2016, the company said.


CEO: Brian Maccaba

With hundreds of security startups vying for attention at the annual RSA Conference, it’s quite an achievement to be recognized as the ’most innovative.’ That’s exactly what Waratek did this year, as it won the top spot of the conference’s Innovation Sandbox competition, joining the ranks of RedOwl Analytics, Sourcefire and Imperva. The startup, based in Dublin, looks to provide large enterprises and institutions with run-time application protection for both new and legacy apps using secure container technology in on-premise or cloud environments. With the win under its belt, CEO Brian Maccaba told CRN that the company will now look to invest more in the channel and expanding into the Fortune 1000 market to leverage the increased focus on application security.


CEO: Stuart McClure

2015 has been a big year for Cylance, which landed $42 million in Series C funding, saw growth in excess of 400 percent year over year and teamed up with Dell for an integrated endpoint security offering. Part of the exploding trend of next-generation endpoint security companies, Cylance distinguishes itself by doing away with signatures and relying on mathematics and algorithms to detect suspect behavior. That type of technology is critical, CEO Stuart McClure said, as the number and sophistication of threats continue to increase, demanding more efficient and effective methods for differentiating between good and bad activity. The startup, based in Irvine, Calif., has also been investing heavily in the channel, McClure said, setting aside some of its new funding to increase head count in partner-facing roles.


CEO: Timothy Eades

VArmour is a Mountain View, Calif.-based company that focuses on the ever more important market of cloud and data center security. Similar to other companies on this list, vArmour operates on the premise that the idea of relying solely on perimeter protections is dead, offering a distributed security system for virtualized and cloud environments. By placing sensors and enforcement points close to the assets that need to be protected and connecting them back to the same intelligence fabric, the vArmour Distributed Security System allows for micro-segmentation and consolidation. The startup, which was founded in 2011, has had a big year in 2015, landing $42 million in venture capital funding, appointing a host of new executive talent, launching a new channel program, adding former Cisco President Gary Moore to its board of directors, and, in November, launching a Multicloud Security Architecture.


CEO: Ajay Arora

If it's a question of when, not if, an attacker will get into a business's environment, then a company needs to put more emphasis on protecting the data itself. That's the belief that Vera (formerly Veradocs) has, emerging from stealth in April with a zero-touch data protection and encryption solution at the file level that both tracks and secures data across devices, users, applications and multiple platforms, including Box, Dropbox and Office 365. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, founded in 2014, also revealed partnerships with VMware and Okta within the past year.


CEO: Ben Bernstein

Security is the "greatest pain point" for enterprises looking to adopt container technologies, as they create a "blind spot" for many security teams, Twistlock CEO and co-founder Ben Bernstein said in an interview with CRN. That's a problem that Twistlock is looking to solve, launching from stealth in May 2015 with $2.5 million in seed funding and a solution that allows enterprises to monitor both static and run-time container application activity, establish security baselines before production, and protect cloud and on-premise containers. That San Francisco startup, whose name comes from a term for securing shipping containers in place, works with vendors such as Docker, Microsoft, Red Hat, VMware, Microsoft, Google, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace.

Keeper Security

CEO: Darren Guccione

Originally in the consumer space, Keeper Security is now looking to launch into the enterprise with a mobile security solution for multitenant password management and encrypted digital file storage. The company, based in Chicago, also expanded its offerings in September to include file sharing, user provisioning, auditing, reporting and delegated administration. Wildly successful in the consumer space, with more than 5 million customers, the startup is now looking to expand its 3,000 grass-roots-acquired business customers to a fully channel-led business model, launching a partner program and adding executives with extensive channel backgrounds.


CEO: Gil Friedrich

Launching from stealth at the end of the year, Avanan is one of the startups looking to tap into the growing opportunity for Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs). Founded by four former ForeScout executives, the New York-based startup looks to bridge the gap between cloud applications and best-of-breed security vendors, including Palo Alto Networks, Check Point, Symantec and others. Under a single platform, MSPs, enterprises and smaller businesses can deploy data security, malware scanning, anti-virus, encryption, anomaly detection, data sanitization, endpoint compliance and more, as well as manage and enforce polices.


CEO: Guy Bejerano

Even if it’s inevitable, it’s not particularly helpful to know that a breach is coming, unless, that is, you know where it will happen. That’s the problem that Menlo Park, Calif.-based SafeBreach is looking to solve, launching into the market in 2014 with a solution that unleashes the "ultimate virtual hacker" in war games simulations on the network, cloud, endpoint and mobile aspects of a business' environment to discover weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Founded by Guy Bejerano and Itzik Kotler, veterans of the IDF Air Force and IDF Intelligence unit 8200, the Israeli startup landed $4 million in venture capital funding this summer from Sequoia Capital and Check Point founder Shlomo Kramer.