Feb. 12, 2019

How Axonius is Attacking One of Cybersecurity’s Biggest Unsolved Problems

By Yoav Leitersdorf

Our portfolio company Axonius secured a $13M Series A led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation by YL Ventures, Vertex, WTI and Emerge to expand and accelerate its powerful asset management platform!

Open Modal

Earlier today, asset management innovator and YL Ventures portfolio company, Axonius announced an impressive $13 million Series A financing round led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) and joined by existing investors YL Ventures, VertexWTI and Emerge. In addition, Axonius was recently named a top-ten finalist in RSA Conference 2019’s prestigious Innovation Sandbox “Most Innovative Startup” competition.

Since bursting out of stealth in summer 2017, Axonius has proceeded to sprint past technical obstacles and all industry expectations. Founders Dean SysmanOfri Shur, and Avidor Bartov have demonstrated stellar leadership and have guided their team and product from one success to the next.

Fueled by this substantial Series A round, as well as the new involvement of BVP partners David Cowan and Amit Karp, Axonius is poised to press its advantage and accelerate its development and growth. Axonius has already created a remarkable product with strong, early customer traction. Seizing on this foundational support and robust framework will allow Axonius to seize the substantial opportunities that lie ahead.

A problem that needed to be solved

Axonius’ trajectory from Seed to Series A has been remarkably fast. A major contributing factor to this speed has been its clarity of vision and singular focus on a problem in need of a solution. In the summer of 2017, when Axonius exited stealth, co-founder and CEO, Dean Sysman shared a blog post to mark the announcement. Clearly and concisely, Dean laid out his reasons for leaving a cushy job at the YC-backed startup he was at, in order to strike out on his own. Chief among these reasons was the staggering problem he had encountered at many major enterprise clients. IoT expansion had resulted in a “Cambrian Explosion” of connected devices, but chaotic and clumsy implementations of deployment and management tools had left networks vulnerable, with conflicting or inaccurate information regarding active assets and their security status. Just a year-and-a-half ago, Dean, Ofri and Avidor inspired us with their bold plan to remedy this unsustainable state of the industry, and their subsequent progress has been exhilarating to watch.

A brilliant solution

A pivotal moment for me during Axonius’s journey from Seed to A happened at a board meeting early last summer when cofounders Ofri and Avidor demonstrated the latest version of their cybersecurity asset management platform. I had known full well what they had been working on during the weeks prior, but in much the same way that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, actually seeing the new version in action on-screen really drove it home for me. It was an “aha moment”; it felt like all of the sudden I saw their vision with brilliant clarity and detail–their single pane of glass was like a lens that illuminated their entire ecosystem in dazzling detail! What I was seeing, like never before, was 100% of the assets on Axonius’s internal network, in their many flavors of hardware, operating systems, endpoint software, etc., all meticulously organized, categorized and searchable via a crisp, clear user interface. I had never seen anything like it. And just like that, it was clear. This was going to be huge.

Incredible initial success

I was among the lucky first to experience this new software by Axonius, but many others followed. Within weeks, YL Ventures introduced Axonius to The New York Times, who deployed within hours and quickly became a very happy customer. Many other companies followed suit, including one current large-scale deployment that Ofri told me about over dinner recently. The details he casually shared were absolutely incredible. Axonius was able to instantly assimilate millions of assets of all shapes and sizes, and automatically make them all neatly visible and accessible to the customer’s security and IT teams via that same beautiful UI I had marveled at during that board meeting.

Beyond the visibility piece, Axonius integrates and communicates with dozens of disparate systems that for years have been installed at organizations, but have not been able to provide much value because they each can show only partial (minimal!) information about assets. But from the moment Axonius is installed and connected to all of these disparate systems, customers get true cybersecurity asset management. For the first time ever, information about enterprise assets from many disparate systems is combined into a single database and correlated into a single pane of glass that shows each and every asset, and all of its properties, easily and quickly searchable, accessible and actionable, thereby providing security and IT practitioners powers that they never had before–all of the sudden they are much more effective!

An exciting road ahead

While finalizing the Series A, Dean confessed to me that even he was floored by how quickly things had moved at Axonius. He told me “Back in the summer of 2017, I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend any of this. It’s amazing what our team has been able to accomplish in such a short time.” I could not agree more, but after being with Axonius at every step of the way, watching them progress, setting up intros and watching them continuously deliver, I also cannot imagine things having gone any other way. I’ll go one step further. I believe the greatest success is yet to come.

With this strong, $13M Series A led by BVP and participation by us as well as Vertex, WTI and Emerge, Axonius is getting the fuel injection it needs right as the road is opening up in front of them. BVP are bringing their substantial experience to bear as the newest addition to Axonius. The dynamic CMO Nathan Burke and VP Sales Joe Hoban will get the firepower they need to expand and hire aggressively in core markets. Dean, Ofri, and Avidor will unlock a bountiful war-chest with which they can begin realizing their grander vision for Axonius’ larger rollout and exciting new phase. And YL Ventures’ entire team will continue to be right by Axonius’ side doing what we do best: supporting and accelerating brilliant cybersecurity entrepreneurs from seed to lead!