Developer-first security firm Snyk raises $150M funding round
U.K cybersecurity startup Snyk Ltd. is the latest tech “unicorn” after bagging $150 million in a funding round led by New York-based growth equity firm Stripes.
Founded in 2015, Snyk pitches itself as a “developer-first” security firm that helps organizations use open-source software while staying secure. The company’s platform continually looks for, identifies and fixes known vulnerabilities and license violations in open-source dependencies.
The service integrates into existing developer workflows, including integration with source control services such as GitHub and BitBucket, to monitor platforms as a service continuously as well as serverless apps in production.
Snyk’s software has been embraced by developers and it now counts more than 400,000 users, up from the 300,000 it claimed at the time of its last, $70 million Series B follow-on funding round in September. The company claims that its revenue has quadrupled in the last year, a period during which it has added major new customers, including Google LLC, Microsoft Corp., Salesforce.com Inc., MongoDB Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc.
In an interview with Wikibon analyst Dave Vellante on SiliconANGLE’s mobile livestreaming studio theCUBE, Snyk Chief Executive Officer Peter McKay (pictured) said the company is benefiting from the trend toward digital transformation and the reliance on open-source software, which has become a priority for almost every organization today.
“Financial services, healthcare, insurance companies, they are all switching to digital, and becoming more of a software company,” McKay said. “But more software equals more risk and cybersecurity continues to be a top issue for 72% of CEOs.”
McKay added that many companies have found that traditional approaches to security no longer work. The old way of doing things, which involves relying on security teams to find vulnerabilities and then sending these to the developers to be fixed is just too slow and inefficient and doesn’t drive success, he said.
Snyk gets around that issue through its close integration with developer workflow services such as GitHub, McKay said.
“It’s very difficult to take a security tool built for security people and say, ‘Oh, let’s adapt it for developers.’ That’s almost impossible,” he said. “So we’ve built Snyk from the ground up especially for developers. It’s embedded into the application development lifecycle so it’s easy for them to use, and so we can just focus on developer adoption.”
Looking ahead, McKay said Snyk’s aim is to continue growing its user base, and plans to do that by investing in its product and continuing to reach out to the developer community. He pointed out that there are about 28 million developers in the world today.
“What we want is every one of those 28 million developers to be using our product,” McKay said. “Whether it’s free or paid, I want Snyk to be used in every application development lifecycle.”
McKay said this isn’t entirely unrealistic because Snyk doesn’t ask developers to switch to a new development environment. Rather, Snyk just becomes a part of their existing workflow.
“Their job is to develop incredible applications that are better than their competitors and get them to market faster than their competitors, and also do it securely,” McKay said. “Our job is to help them with the third, but not by sacrificing one and two. We’ll help developers beat their competition in a secure fashion, but we won’t slow them down.”
The other ingredient for Snyk’s success is its focus on fixing vulnerabilities, rather than just discovering them.
“Prioritizing what I should fix first has become a really big issue,’” McKay said. “By focusing on fixing the top 10% of vulnerabilities, you can then auto-remediate many other problems. We’re measured by how many vulnerabilities do we fix.”
Here’s McKay’s full interview:
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