Permiso emerges from stealth with $10M to tackle the next wave of cloud security

Permiso, a Palo Alto-based startup that provides cloud identity detection and response for cloud infrastructures, has launched from stealth with $10 million in seed funding.

The company, founded by former FireEye executives Paul Nguyen and Jason Martin, joins an influx of cloud security startups that have emerged since the start of the pandemic, which saw organizations rush to digitize their operations to support employees working from home.

While arguably 18 months late to a now already-crowded market, Nguyen and Martin believe their detection response product is ready for the next wave of cloud security. The idea was inspired by conversations with Permiso’s angel investors, including Netflix, who said that their number one problem in the cloud was identity.

“We started to realize that identity is the lynchpin that tells that story of what’s happening in your cloud, and it’s also the foundation for how you build detection in the cloud,” Nguyen tells TechCrunch.

Permiso provides organizations with visibility for identities in their cloud infrastructure to give real-time insights into who is in the environment and what they are doing. This, the startup claims, allows for simple and efficient attribution of access, activity and changes occurring in monitored environments, helping organizations to spot malicious or anomalous behaviors that could indicate compromised credentials, policy violations or insider threats.

“We’re a little ahead of the market,” Martin said. “No one, as far as we’re aware, other than the custom products that cloud-forward companies build for themselves, is focused on anchoring all activity around identity, the resources in that environment, and how they interact.”

Permiso is billed as “built by experts, usable by non-experts”, which the startup says is key given the growing skills shortage in the cloud security market. “When we looked at teams that were transitioning from on-prem[ise] to the cloud, it was like speaking English and trying to learn Farsi as a completely new language. It’s starting from zero” said Nguyen.

“We built for 1% of the market for years, but that gets you 1% of the market. Now we’re going after the 99%.”

The startup’s $10 million seed round was led by Point72 Ventures and included Foundation Capital, Work-Bench, 11.2 Capital and Rain Capital. It was also backed by a number of security industry leaders, including Jason Chan, former VP of Information Security at Netflix; Travis McPeak, head of Product Security at Databricks; and Tyler Shields, CMO at JupiterOne.

Permiso will use the funds to triple its current 15-person team and expand its current customer footprint.

“Our investors have all solved this identity problem at scale in cloud-native problems, but other companies won’t get to this point for another year or two,” said Martin.