Discover more from Startup Pirate by Alex Alexakis
The Rise of Cybersecurity
Greek cybersecurity startups, six funding rounds, Orfium's deal in Asia, new VC funds, jobs, events, and more
Happy Friday 👋 Welcome to Hunting Greek Unicorns #50! I’m Alex, a product guy turned VC, and every two weeks I send out a newsletter with everything you need to know about Greek startups. Join 3,420 readers by subscribing here:
The Rise of Cybersecurity
In this newsletter, we have explored cybersecurity a few times. And we’ve used different lenses to do that. Hacking training with Hack The Box, protecting people’s privacy with Malloc and most recently preventing attacks with Code BGP.
The reason why I keep coming back to this space is twofold. First, it’s because cybersecurity is the new security. Expanding our digital footprint and moving our lives online resulted in way more security risks for individuals and enterprises. Every new software tool and every new user increases the attack surface. This is an accelerating trend with no slowdown in sight. If it were measured as a country, then cybercrime would be the world’s third-largest economy after the US and China.
“More than one out of every 20 open jobs in America today is a job that requires cybersecurity skills. And every projection shows that the number of these jobs will grow even more in the years ahead”, wrote Brad Smith, Vice Chairman and President of Microsoft, last October. By 2025, there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs open globally. That’s enough to fill 167 NBA stadiums. No wonder why Google recently decided to spend $5.4 billion in its second-largest acquisition ever, for a cybersecurity firm with the aim to deliver an end-to-end security operations suite through Google Cloud. When it comes to private markets, 2021 minted 37 new cybersecurity unicorns with a record-shattering $29.3 billion in venture capital, more than doubling the $12.4 billion raised in 2020 and outpacing the two previous years combined. The cybersecurity software stack is booming.
Now, the other reason why I keep coming back to this space is Greek founders. Greek founders in cybersecurity have demonstrated a very solid track record with some high profile buyers taking notice too.
RiskIQ acquired by Microsoft (2021)
Aporeto acquired by Palo Alto Networks (2019)
Caspida acquired by Splunk (2015)
Crypteia Networks acquired by PCCW (2014)
Location Labs acquired by AVG (2014)
StopTheHacker acquired by Cloudflare (2014)
These transactions were worth more than 1 billion dollars in total at the time of acquisition. At the same time, there are several up and coming teams that are growing fast, having millions of users and some of the most prominent private and public corporations globally in their clienteles. Let’s take a look at some of them!
ForAllSecure: A decade of research at Carnegie Mellon University, patented technology and a mission to automatically test the world's software for exploitable bugs. ForAllSecure started in 2012 with Thanassis Avgerinos as co-founder and its list of customers now includes Fortune1000 companies, as well as the US Department of Defense, to enable continuous security to their applications. They’ve raised $37.7m.
Obrela Security Industries: Founded in 2009 by George Patsis and George Daglas, Obrela has built an “umbrella” of services to help corporations reduce the chances of them falling victim to a cyberattack. At the core, is the company’s Cyber Risk Management Platform, which offers the ability to identify, predict and prevent threats in real-time. They’ve raised €4.5m (the equivalent Crunchbase field was blank, so that’s my assumption based on what I could find online).
Hack The Box: With the number of security incidents rising, upskilling becomes more critical than ever. Hack The Box is the world’s largest cybersecurity playground. An online training platform helping individuals and organisations level up their hacking skills, counting more than 1 million users and a number of high profile institutions as customers. They have raised $14.5m since started in 2017 by Haris Pylarinos, Aris Zikopoulos and James Hooker.
Futurae: An ETH-Zurich spin-off with the goal to make the authentication process easier and safer and help companies comply with regulatory and security guidelines. Co-founded in 2016 by Nikos Karapanos, the company has raised $7.6m and counts big financial institutions across Europe as its customers.
Cylera: Cylera is going after a particular niche, namely healthcare, IoT and medical device security. Recognizing a gap in safeguarding patient data, a team including Paul Bakoyiannis started in 2017 with the aim to change how hospitals and health systems manage their data. They’re now counting renowned hospitals and health systems across the US as customers and have raised $17m.
Malloc: Maria Terzi, Artemis Kontou and Liza Charalambous, three PhDs from Cyprus, founded the company in 2020 to focus on the world’s privacy and data security challenges. They have developed Antistalker to protect devices from spyware, which is used by over 500k users (last time I talked to Maria in October, that number was slightly over 100k). The team has raised $1.9m.
Panther: Not Greek founded per se, but with a substantial part of the team in Greece since the early days, a very interesting product, and a unicorn valuation with over $140m raised. Panther is building a platform for security teams to help them detect and respond to threats at scale, trusted by the likes of Coinbase, Snowflake, Gitlab, Snyk and more.
Laika: Compliance is a crucial component of cybersecurity. Co-founded in 2019 by Eva Pittas, Laika is building a compliance platform that automates workflows for audits, infosec monitoring and vendor due diligence. They have raised $48m.
Code BGP: Started in 2021 by Fontas Dimitropoulos, Vasileios Kotronis and Lefteris Manassakis, a team of researchers, university professors and creators of an open source project used by some of the largest network operators in the world, Code BGP is helping Internet network operators modernise the way they work by facilitating visibility, security and automation. They’ve raised $1.5m.
Elemendar: Elemendar develops AI that reads cyber threat reports and translates them into machine-readable, structured information to help organisations better defend against cyber threats. They’ve raised an undisclosed amount of funding since started in 2017 by Giorgos Georgopoulos.
Logstail: Founded in 2017 by Christos Ntrigkogias, Logstail offers a way to earlier detect and faster respond to security incidents, supporting analysis and monitoring.
All these companies have at least part, if not their whole workforce based in Greece or Cyprus, apart from Laika, Elemendar and Cylera. Information on employees’ location and funding amount was gathered from Crunchbase and LinkedIn.
The above is an indicative list. Would love to chat if your team is building in this space!
Looking for your next opportunity? Check out job postings from Greek startups in Greece, abroad, and remotely. Company information is also available.
Music tech company Orfium acquired Japan's global digital studio Breaker INC as part of their Asian market expansion.
Microbiotica raised a $67m Series B funding led by Tencent to develop technology, which uses the body’s microbiome to discover and develop therapeutic medicines and biomarkers for a range of disorders.
Food D2C brand KoRo, announced a €50m investment with plans to also expand to Greece.
ForAllSecure raised a $21m Series B with a mission to automatically test the world's software for exploitable bugs.
Embion Technologies, a biotech company and spin-off of EPFL, raised CHF 4.5m for its biomass processing technology.
Woli, the money app and card for kids and teens, announced a €700k funding round to further expand its product offering, grow its team, and prepare for operation in new markets.
Oliveex, an IoT platform addressing the quality control needs of companies producing fermented foods, raised a pre-seed round led by TECS Capital.
More dry powder coming up for startups in Greece with new funds launching soon. Further details can be found here.
Mysten Labs, the blockchain infrastructure company created by an ex-Meta team including two Greek founders, announced its Layer 1 blockchain, Sui.
VISA may send up to 3% of its staff to work from Greece (a total of 21,500 people from across the world) every year as part of its teleworking program.
Interesting Reads & Podcasts
How to assess Product Managers by Babis Makrynikolas, VP Product & Pricing at Blueground, here.
A podcast with Georgios Konstantopoulos, CTO of Paradigm, on developing an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) development tool.
A podcast with Lefteris Karapetsas, founder of Rotki, on challenges in open source development in the crypto space, privacy issues and more.
When your manager does not listen by Zaharenia Atzitzikaki, Design Leader & Management Coach, here.
Two essential decisions for any DAO when it comes to voting, by Dean Pappas, co-founder of Grape Network, here.
A post by Vassilis Tziokas, Global Sales Enablement Lead at Microsoft, on the intersection of enterprise and web3: governance and entertainment as a service.
Panos Siozos, CEO & co-founder of LearnWorlds, on remote learning, creating an online school with LearnWorlds, social aspects of online education and more, here.
Some thoughts on music NFTs by Ross Peili, Head Of Corporate Affairs at RareCandy3D.
A survey on human resources in the Greek tech industry organised by a group of university professors and the National Council for Research and Innovation.
“20o Open Coffee Heraklion” by Open Coffee Heraklion on Apr 2
“April 2022 JHUG meetup” by Java Hellenic User Group on Apr 6
“Scrum patterns and antipatterns” by Agile Thessaloniki on Apr 7
“New York City Greeks in Tech” by Marathon VC on Apr 13
“Voxxed Days Thessaloniki 2022” by Voxxed Days on Jun 24/25
Hot Southeast Europe Deals
euShipments | Bulgarian e-commerce logistics company raised €7.5m
Aggero | Romanian data analytics for esports and gaming raised $2m
How did you like this week’s Hunting Greek Unicorns? Your feedback helps me make this great.
You can also follow me on Twitter!
Thanks for reading and see you in two weeks 👋