From the Sony hack last year, to recent attacks on JPMorgan Chase, endpoint security issues continue to bedevil companies and large and small, and by extension every one of us.
SentinelOne, a startup security software provider that attacks security threats at the kernel of devices, has raised $25 million in a new round of funding to tackle the problem of endpoint protection at the core of computing.
The company has its roots in the Israeli security and counter-intelligence community, culling at least half of its developers from the famed 8200 unit of the Israeli Defense Forces.
That team, headed by Almog Cohen, the company’s chief technology officer and the former head of innovation for the Israeli security giant Check Point Software Technologies, managed to snag new capital from the venture arm of the multi-billion dollar hedge fund Third Point.
Previous investors Tiger Global, Data Collective, Granite Hill Capital Partners, and the Westly Group also participated in the round.
“Mostly this round will go toward scaling our sales and marketing,” says chief executive Tomer Weingarten. “There’s also going to be some growth in R&D to get to more platforms and add more features.”
According to Weingarten, SentinelOne (and competitors like Cylance) are developing the first new breakthrough in anti-virus and endpoint security in decades.
“We developed a system that can detect the vector of an attack in real-time, prior to the attack, and without any knowledge of the previous attack,” says Weingarten. “We have a kernel-level agent that taps into the kernel of the device and sees what’s taking place and looks at why [the software] is executing.”
Weingarten, a serial entrepreneur whose previous companies include Dpolls and the still-private Carambola, linked up with Cohen to launch SentinelOne after seeing what he called the frustration of enterprise customers with traditional anti-virus vendors.
“Not a lot has changed in the endpoint security landscape over time,” says Weingarten. “While now we’re seeing much more sophisticated attackers and realizing that they can penetrate networks on the end devices. Through the endpoint they basically penetrate the enterprise.”
As its financial footing becomes more security, SentinelOne is preparing to embark on a massive hiring push, according to Weingarten. The company, which now boasts 50 employees, expects its headouct to gro to 120 by the middle of next year.
The staffing push comes as SentinelOne’s chief executive has set lofty goals for the company.
“At this point, we’re trying to reinvent most of the stuff that’s out there,” he says.