The cloud security startup takes in new funding to help accelerate its growth by doubling its R&D team.


Israeli cloud security startup Avanan on May 17 announced that is has raised $14.9 million in a Series A round of funding from Greenfield Cities Holdings, a TPG Growth portfolio company; Magma VC; and StageOne Ventures. The new funding will be used by the company to accelerate growth.

Total funding to date for Avanan including its seed round now stands at $16.4 million.

Avanan, which translates from Hebrew as "cloud of clouds," first emerged from stealth in November 2015, with the promise of helping organizations be secure in the cloud.

"Immediately we are going to double our R&D team to more rapidly expand our solution into more security products and more cloud applications," Gil Friedrich, Avanan founder and CEO, told eWEEK. "We are also going to add sales and marketing leadership to accelerate our market reach."

Office 365 in the Office

Since the company emerged from stealth in November, Friedrich said that Avanan has added more customers and additional capabilities to its products. The Avanan platform provides users with multiple vendor security products that have been optimized for the cloud, including shadow IT, antivirus, file encryption and advanced persistent threat technologies.

There are multiple ways that organizations make use of cloud technologies securely today. Among the approaches is a technology known as a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), which has gained in popularity. Blue Coat acquired CASB vendor Elastica in a $280 million deal in November 2015, while IBM has its own CASB effort called the IBM Cloud Security Enforcer. Friedrich, however, is not an advocate for CASB technology.

"The traditional CASB vendors chose a 1-mile-wide, 1-inch-deep approach, where they tried to be good at every layer of security," he said. "This herculean effort is obviously not possible, even from the largest security powerhouses, let alone from small startups."

In Friedrich's view, now that Microsoft's Office 365 and some of the other software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors have helped make SaaS a popular option for mainstream companies, hackers are attacking corporate SaaS usage with targeted methods. As such, he said companies are looking for best-of-breed solutions for the different layers, which is where he sees Avanan providing a comprehensive security platform with the necessary layers of security.

"Longer term, some of the CASB vendors might be good at one or two security layers, and we'd be happy to add them to our platform," Friedrich said. "In fact, we do see some indication that customers look for that when some of them are asking us to add shadow-IT capabilities from specific CASB vendors to our platform."

The end-game for Avanan is to become that go-to platform where most organizations will go to test, buy and use security for the cloud, he said.

"To get there, we need to support more SaaS and more security tools, and we need to get the word out to more organizations around the world," Friedrich said.

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Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.