Atlanta-based cybersecurity management startup Apptega has raised an oversubscribed seed round of $700,000 led by Circadian Group with participation from the TiE Atlanta Angel group, Ascent Capital, Triton Claims Management, and individual family offices. The capital will be used to swell their headcount to about a dozen, expand sales and marketing efforts, as well as for product development.
Apptega was founded in 2017 by CEO Armistead Whitney, a serial software entrepreneur who also founded Preparis, a software company that offers a cybersecurity tool to customers such as Bain Capital, Family Dollar and Groupon. Whitney stepped down from his role as CEO at Preparis in 2016, though he remains involved with the company.
Whitney says that, in talking to clients implementing cybersecurity solutions, he realized how difficult the management of those tools across the enterprise had become. The proliferation of regulations, while a good thing for the consumer who needs to be protected, can become overwhelming for companies to keep up with.
“Organizations of every size were trying to build, manage and report their cybersecurity program, both for maintaining a great security level to protect their enterprises from the threats of today, to having to report their programs in new ways for board meetings, executive meetings, to their customers,” he says.
For example, any company that accepts credit card data must maintain compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard. Health IT companies have the all-important HIPAA. Anyone collecting digital data from European users must now comply with GDPR — and there are many, many more, each of which have hundreds of rules.
Currently, Whitney says the status and management of a company’s cybersecurity compliance is often tracked on Excel spreadsheets.
Apptega, which combines “app” with the Latin ‘tega’, meaning ‘to protect and defend,’ is the genesis of that realization. Whitney likens it to the Salesforce of cybersecurity — one comprehensive automation platform to manage all those regulatory requirements and accompanying data.
Within the platform, companies select and are walked through a cybersecurity “playbook” for any of the above regulations (PCI, HIPAA, GDPR, etc) or can build their own custom program. They are directed through real-time compliance scoring, a project lifecycle, task management, scheduling, budgeting and alerts. The dashboard create exportable reports to keep track of progress, and to provide status updates to executives or auditors.
“Our customers span every industry — from retail, law firms, and healthcare to real estate, manufacturing and technology,” says Whitney. He explains that, while they have customers ranging from a four-person startup to Fortune 500-sized organizations, their target customer is the mid-sized business.
“Our biggest market right now is businesses between 200 and 1000 employees, so those that don’t have dozens of security people on staff to manage all this. They’re really looking for cyber automation.”
Earlier this year, the startup brought on a new sales leader, Vice President Gavin Harris. Harris served as one of the first members of the sales team at AirWatch (an Atlanta-based mobile company acquired by VMware for $1.54 billion in 2014), eventually moving up to lead all North American commercial markets and inside sales. Now, he’s leading the charge to build a sales and marketing team at Apptega.
Since launching in January of this year, they’ve landed over 50 customers. This seed funding will help them accelerate that momentum, says Whitney.
“Apptega’s immediate customer traction is impressive and shows the enormous demand companies have for managing their cybersecurity programs,” says Mike Dowdle, Managing Partner at Circadian Group. “The experience of Apptega’s management team operating in the hyper-growth cybersecurity field makes this a very attractive investment.”
“I’ve never been in a company in my 25 years that’s seen such an acceleration of growth,” Whitney says.