The founder of a new cybersecurity ‘unicorn’ thinks the industry has a bit of a PR problem.
“The [cybersecurity] industry has been built on fear, uncertainty, and doubt,” Erkang Zheng told Hypepotamus. “I wanted to change that.”
Part of that change has been about rethinking cyber inventory management. And this approach has helped his startup, North Carolina-based JupiterOne, become a leader in cyber asset attack surface management (caasm).
Zheng describes JupiterOne as a platform that creates “one source of truth” for customers looking to identify, map, analyze, and secure complex IT and cyber assets. JupiterOne helps companies take inventory of all their cyber assets to ultimately visualize vulnerabilities across tech stacks and digital operations.
The startup’s name intentionally doesn’t include any words like risk, defense, or shield – nomenclature that is common in the cybersecurity startup space. Instead, Zheng said the company borrows its name from Jupiter Peak in Park City, where the company hosted a retreat several years back. The “One” highlights the startup’s goal of creating a “consolidated, one source of truth” when it comes to cybersecurity.
That different approach to cybersecurity has helped propel JupiterOne’s growth over the last two years. The startup was at 17 people at the start of the pandemic. Today, that number is around 150. It took on its first round of outside funding in September 2020 – a $19 million Series A from a group of mainly West Cost investors.
Following a $70 million Series C this month, the company is now valued at over $1 billion, according to a company blog post by Zheng on June 2.
That moves JupiterOne onto an impressive list of North Carolina-based startups reaching unicorn status, which includes SaaS platform Pendo and video game developer giant Epic Games.
Cyber Unicorn in North Carolina
Zheng, a graduate of NC State, has been working in the Research Triangle’s technology scene for the last 22 years. Prior to building JupiterOne, he worked as a CTO, CISO, and Head of Software Security, giving him a unique look into what was missing in the cybersecurity landscape.
Having raised Series A, Series B, and Series C rounds over the last few years, Zheng said JupiterOne is poised for growth in the second half of 2022. He said the team now is ensuring the product is approachable for startups and global firms alike. “We’re in a unique position to serve customers on both ends, but that presents its own challenges,” Zheng added. “Our key focus is having a great balance of enterprise capability, and sort of consumer usability.”
About 40% JupiterOne’s current team is located at JupiterOne’s North Carolina headquarters with the rest working remotely.