Wiz, founded by former Microsoft Israel R&D head, raises $100 million series A
Having the right people and operating in the hottest security sector in the market makes finding investors simple, says Assaf Rapaport
A mere nine months after it was founded, Cloud security company Wiz, headed by former General Manager of R&D at Microsoft Israel Assaf Rapaport, has raised a $100 million series A funding round. Venture capital funds Index Ventures, Sequoia, Insight Partners, and Cyberstarts all participated in the round. All the investors, aside from Insight, also invested in Adollam, Rapaport’s previous company, which was sold to Microsoft in 2015 for $320 million. Among the prominent private investors who participated in the round are Yevgeny Dibrov and Nadir Izrael, the co-founders of Armis Security, Which was sold to Insight in a $1.1 billion deal.
Rappaport left his leadership position at Microsoft after only a two-year period, and then he joined forces with his previous partners from Adollam, Ami Luttwak, Yinon Costica, and Roy Reznik, in order to found Wiz.
It sounds like a solution tailored to the pandemic, but the company was actually founded before that, in March
“The transition to the cloud is happening constantly, but the pandemic forced organizations to do it faster, which only served to highlight the security issues, and there are many cyber events taking place. The solutions that are available on the market are too complicated.”
You have a product available and are already reporting that you have paying clients
“That’s what so unique here, more so even than the rapid funding. The most incredible thing about it all is that we managed to recruit the 30 most amazing people in the country. In fact, the sales we’ve closed so far were completed without us bringing on a single salesperson yet. Our developers are so good that they sell the product themselves.”
The company said its cloud-native security product is already being used by paying customers, including Fortune 100 companies. Despite Rapaport’s claims, the large investment will enable the company to expand its personnel substantially. Over the upcoming year, Wiz plans to recruit 70 developers in Israel and dozens more sales and marketing people around the world.
Most of your investors also invested in Adollam
“They are all people that I like a lot, they come from the best funds and are the best people I’ve had the privilege of working with. You don’t replace a winning team. It’s also a lot of fun. When you embark on a journey for the second time, it’s good to bring along what had already proven itself so as to only make new mistakes.”
“No matter what company you have, it’s always important to have a good team and we knew how to deliver a great one, a team that was responsible for cloud security at Microsoft. We are active in what is the fastest-growing market in the security sector and was so even before the pandemic. When you combine the two, finding the right investors is simple.”
Raising $100 million at such an early stage can also be a disadvantage or at least a cause for confusion. What are your plans?
“Completing an investment round like this one removes the option of an acquisition from the table and leaves it to us to build a truly big company. What we did was put the financing issue behind us so that we can focus on racing forwards.”
You’re saying a fast exit is not an option, does that mean you want to go farther with the new company?
“I set out on a new course feeling that I had experienced founding and quickly selling a company, I had experienced building up a security division at an organization like Microsoft, and now my mission is to build a large company from the ground up.”
“When we first met the Wiz founding team in 2012 during the early days of Adallom, it was clear they were a passionate group with a deep understanding of the security space ,” said Doug Leone, global managing partner at Sequoia Capital. “Eight years later, the team has only gotten stronger with the founding of Wiz. Their past experiences executing at scale and their hunger to build an enduring company will help Wiz lead the market with a new generation of cloud security tools. We’re thrilled to partner again with this exceptional founding team.”