Grip Security, a Tel Aviv-based startup that helps enterprises protect their data in SaaS applications, today announced that it has raised a $19 million Series A funding round led by Intel Capital. YL Ventures, which led the company’s $6 million seed round earlier this year, also participated in this round, which brings Grips’ total funding to $25 million.
As Grip CEO and co-founder Lior Yaari told me, while Grip may still be a young company — and selling into the enterprise tends to be a slow process — the team was still able to show investors significant growth, especially for a company that was only officially founded in February. He noted, for example, that the number of users that the product covers grew tenfold every quarter. Over the course of the last nine months, Grip also signed up a wide range of customers that includes Fortune 500 enterprises and small startups.
Traditionally, these companies would use a cloud access security broker (CASB) that act as intermediaries between the employee and the service they use. Ideally, this helps a business’s IT team to know exactly who has access to these tools and how they use these services. But in reality, employees often route around these tools, making data governance hard or even impossible.
“I remember the old days, in our pitch, we explained the problem space and how SaaS is growing — and it shifted to a point where we only ask: how do you solve it today? Everyone I meet has an answer,” Yaari said. “It makes the discussion much easier, because if the answer is, ‘I manage an Excel spreadsheet — and an Excel sheet, the moment something is written, it’s outdated. Seconds later, someone signed up for a new application and the document is outdated. So either they do that or use legacy technologies to do so, but they are full of false positives, very hard to work with and not actionable enough. And then we show them our dashboard and the discussion goes forward.”
Grip promises that within 15 minutes of installing the service, without any agents or proxies, the service can provide businesses with a full SaaS inventory. And while that alone is already extremely useful for its users, the team learned quite a bit from working with its early customers, Yaari said.
“As we interacted with customers and as we saw the problems that they’re seeing and the challenges that they are facing — not from the side, but as a partner that helps them solve them — we expanded our vision into the daily struggles of security teams,” he explained. Specifically, this means helping businesses with more of the day-to-day access management issues they have when, for example, an employee leaves the company. “As we look at the next step, we want to build an enforceable, comprehensive access management solution,” he said. “A user of a SaaS application today can theoretically go back home, open his private laptop and access the application itself. For years, we’ve based SaaS security solutions on the network security paradigm, placing a proxy on the organization’s networks. But when someone goes back home, it doesn’t cover them again malicious actors that access applications if they stole a password from one of the employees.”
Because Grip knows of every application in use by a given company, it believes that it can also now help these companies enforce access based on company policy. The current plan is for Grip to launch this new solution in the coming months.
“Grip has identified what SaaS security teams were lacking and has provided them with a viable, accessible and impactful solution,” said Sunil Kurkure, managing director at Intel Capital. “With existing products taking months to deploy and interfering with innovation and scale, Grip’s quick and easy deployment process has the potential to change the way SaaS security interacts with business workflows.”
Correction: A previous version of this story used the total funding amount Grip raised in the last nine months in the headline ($25 million), not the $19 million it raised in this Series A.