Oort, an identity threat detection and response platform, today announced that it has raised $11.5 million in a Series A funding round co-led by .406 Ventures and Energy Impact Partners with participation from Cisco Investments. The proceeds, which bring Oort’s total capital raised to $15 million, will be used to support its go-to-market strategy, CEO Matt Caulfield told TechCrunch.
Caulfield co-founded Oort after stints at Citi, Lockheed Martin, and Cisco (hence Cisco’s Series A involvement), where he led their Boston-based product innovation team. Joined by Didi Dotan, the former chief identity architect at EMC and director of identity services at Cisco, Caulfield set out to launch a service that could detect and respond to identity threats – for example engineering social, phishing and malware – “enterprise-wide”. ”
“From a technical point of view, identity is essential. The days of pervasive endpoint and network security are over,” Caulfield told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Identity is the only thing standing between attackers on the Internet and corporate assets and data. Investing in identity security is a must for enterprise security teams.”
There’s no doubt that the market for identity security startups — startups that offer products to identify and authenticate people — is hot. Venture capital firms paid $2.3 billion to identity providers in 2021, up from $1.3 billion in 2020, according to data from Crunchbase. Companies such as Socure, Transmit Security and Trulioo have raised hundreds of millions of dollars between them over the past few years, while others, like Auth0, have been acquired by incumbents like Okta.
With the normalization of remote working spawning a series of new identity security startups, including Illusive, Silverfort, Authomize, ConductorOne, Footprint and Silverfort, Oort has its work cut out for it. But Caulfield says a factor in its favor is its “data-driven” yet “human-centric” approach to orchestrating the user accounts that employees use across their organization’s various digital departments.
“The number of vendors and the noise created by security vendors is enormous. This makes it difficult for information security managers and security teams to find and evaluate new solutions,” Caulfield said. “Rather than focusing on securing machines and bits and bytes, we focus on the user – the human – behind the identity.”
The Oort Platform, based on Snowflake’s Security Data Lake Architecture, ingests streaming event and identity data from a variety of sources (including external sources such as Webroot’s Brightcloud) to create statistical models which are then used to detect threats such as social engineering. Oort works with existing systems such as Okta and Microsoft Azure AD and offers tools to perform common identity security tasks, such as repairing vulnerable user accounts, reviewing authentication history and risk factors of a user, monitoring potentially suspicious user behavior, and deleting accounts with unused access.
Technology has obviously taken over the business of Collibra and Avid Technology, which are among Oort’s 10 corporate clients. Caulfield says recent high-level identity attacks like the breach of Uber’s internal network have also unsurprisingly sparked interest in Oort’s platform, as have pandemic-catalyzed digital transformations.
“The broader downturn has yet to affect security buying habits,” Caulfield said, adding that Oort’s Series A extends the company’s track “through” 2024. enterprise and the shift from old device- and network-based approaches to Oort’s approach, centered on users, identities and the humans behind them, positions them to capture the change that is already underway.”
Oort currently employs 18 people in the United States, Israel and Uruguay. The company plans to grow to 25 people by the end of 2022.