Vera, the cloud service that wants to protect data regardless of where it’s stored or used, announced a $17 million Series B today led by Sutter Hill Ventures.
That may not seem unusual, but companies are at least anecdotally finding those B and C rounds increasingly difficult to come by, especially from traditional venture capitalist like Sutter Hill. Vera did not seem to have a problem, even in the current atmosphere.
“Even after the turn of the year, where we saw a lot of blood-letting getting into 2016, we had a solid set of VCs interested in investing in us,” Vera CEO Ajay Arora told TechCrunch.
And it wasn’t just Sutter Hill. Existing investors Battery Ventures, Clear Venture Partners and Amplify Partners also joined the round. Today’s money brings the total raised to $31 million so far, according to information provided by the company. The most recent funding before today came from a $14 million Series A in November, 2014.
While the company originally set out to protect files in motion regardless of the service, last year it broadened its mission when it changed its name to reflect this wider focus. As I wrote at the time:
Vera allows end users to share however they want, using whatever service they choose, then apply an expiration date, watermark, encryption or define just what recipients can or can’t do with the document or data — copy/paste, edit or take a screenshot. It also allows authorized users to revoke any document or email any time, rendering it useless to the recipient, and provides an audit trail showing exactly how people have accessed that data and what they’ve done with it.
Arora believes his company was in good shape for this round because they stayed focused on real customer proof points and finding the right market fit. “Our entire 2015 was all about acquiring customers across different verticals and [company] sizes to show the importance and urgency of our solution,” he said.
The company also avoided the allure of taking a big valuation too early. “We were offered higher valuations [last round] than we were comfortable taking. We realized that it was not smartest thing to do in the long run,” he said.
The company ended the fourth quarter with over 30 customers and hundreds of thousands of users, according to Arora. Those customers include a broad range of sizes from Fortune 10 to companies as small as 100 employees, as well as verticals including finance, manufacturing and non-profits.
The ultimate goal is to become Information Rights Management (IRM) as a Service. This would allow customers to apply these types of rules and controls to multiple types of data as it moves inside and outside the firewall.
As you would expect with a B round, the company is going to try to increase sales in the next 12-18 months and will invest in sales and marketing to help increase the number of customers. It also wants to add more data types under its protection and that will require a greater investment in research and development.
The company currently has 70 employees with 50 in the US and 20 in India. They hope to have 110-120 by the end of this year.