San Francisco-based enterprise startup Bluebox has raised $9.5 million in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz, which saw participation from SV Angel, Sun co-founder and early Google investor Andy Bechtolsheim, Google board member and early investor Ram Shriram, and former CEO of SPI Dynamics (acquired by HP in 2007) Brian Cohen. Bechtolsheim and Scott Weiss, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, have now joined Bluebox’s board as a result of the funding.
The company is still operating somewhat stealthily…ok very stealthily - as of yesterday, for example, the homepage was just a giant blue background with no text. Although the Bluebox team is not talking about the specifics of the product just yet, the solution in development is focused on mobile security, something which continues to be a major problem in today’s enterprise market.
“When you look at the mobile growth in terms of iPads, tablets and mobile phones, and how fast these things are being adopted as your personal device and personal wallet,” says Bluebox co-founder Caleb Sima, “that growth has exploded even faster than what analysts have predicted in the past.” The challenge in the enterprise market is how to secure these devices properly, he explains. ”That problem is not solved, not even closely. So what we’ve done is build a very unique and comprehensive solution to solve that problem,” he says.
Given the issue at hand, it’s not surprising that Bluebox’s co-founders have strong security backgrounds. CEO Caleb Sima, who joined HP with the SPI Dynamics acquisition, was previously CTO for HP’s Application Security Center, and was responsible for the company’s web application security solutions. Prior to SPI, he worked for Internet Security Systems (ISS)’s X-Force R&D team and as a Security Engineer for S1 Corporation. Bluebox’s other co-founder Adam Ely was previously Chief Information Security Officer of the Heroku business unit at Salesforce.com, and before that, he led security and compliance at TiVo and led security within The Walt Disney Company, where he was responsible for Disney.com, ESPN.com and ABC.com.
So what is Bluebox actually building? Details are sparse. They’re really not saying. But Sima promises it’s different. “The technology is not anything you’ve ever seen before,” says Sima, “so you’re not going to be able to lump it in the MDM [mobile device management] space.”
“It’s a far different angle. When you look at these companies in the MDM space, a lot of these guys came from the background of mobile. They came from mobile management,” explains Sima. “They learned that security guys are the ones that have spurned a lot of the purchase of these [MDM solutions] because they needed something in order to help them do some sort of management of these mobile devices and get some sort of safety around that. A lot of these MDM companies then shifted into security companies,” he says.
So that’s why the Bluebox solution is different, Sima tells us – its security DNA. “We know exactly what needs to be solved and how to solve it,” he says. “That has not been addressed by anybody in the market…we’re planning to hit his market head-on and disrupt it.”
Hey, MDM companies? Hear that? Them’s fightin’ words.
Bluebox is currently a small team of eight, including people whose backgrounds include Intel, Heroku, Salesforce, ISS, IBM, Fortify, HP, and Zynga. Some are developers and others are “hardcore security guys.” Investor and board member Weiss says Bluebox has the most amazing security team he’s seen in a long time. “Security is a team on team sport. You have thousands of well financed bad guys trying to work around and crack your system,” says Weiss. “The Bluebox team is the ideal mix of the best technical minds in security who have spent time both developing new security technology and buying/deploying it as CTO/CISOs.”
With the new funding, the plan is to now grow that team aggressively. The company is currently talking with potential customers and plans to have a beta by the end of the year. More (but not much more), is here.