Even in these trying economic times, there are some services that companies can't do without. Having good security tools is one of them. Expel, a four-year-old startup that offers security operations as a service, announced a $50 million Series D financing today.
CapitalG led the round with participation from existing investors Battery Ventures, Greycroft, Index Ventures, Paladin Capital Group and Scale Venture Partners. The company has now raised almost $117 million, according to PitchBook data.
It's never easy finding quality security talent to help protect a large organization. The idea behind Expel is to give customers a set of tools to help use automation to reduce the number of people required to keep an organization safe.
Most companies struggle to find experienced security employees, so it's using automation to solve a real pain point for them. While co-founder and CEO Dave Merkel says you still need to staff the security operations center, you can do it with fewer people with his platform.
"You may have a 24x7 Security Operations Center, but you don't need the number of people everybody else does to protect your customers because Workbench does all of the heavy lifting for you. So instead of a SOC with 100 people, maybe you've got one with 15 people, and that gives tremendous leverage through this platform, and the platform ensures that you can provide high quality security without having to continually grow headcount," Merkel explained.
Merkel sees the same economy everyone else does, but he believes that companies will continue to invest in security because they have to.
"Security tends to be a need as opposed to a want in many organizations, and so we still do see business happening. We will be using some of the money to continue to invest smartly in sales and marketing, but we'll just need to be deliberate to make sure that we're picking the right things that are still effective right now," he said.
One thing that's remarkable about this round is that Expel didn't go looking for this new money. In fact, CapitalG came knocking, according to CapitalG general partner Gene Frantz.
"We sought out Expel, first and foremost. It wasn't that Expel sought out to raise money and they called a bunch of people. We called them, and that was in response to a bunch of thematic work that we continually do in the security space," Frantz told TechCrunch .
That work involved three main areas, where Expel happened to check all the boxes. The first was the threat landscape becoming ever more treacherous. The second was information overload from a variety of security products, and finally the dearth of experienced security personnel to deal with the first two problems.
"And so our bet is that this is the company in the space that actually will take on and address these challenges," Frantz said.
Merkel describes having a company like CapitalG come to him as a humbling experience for him and his co-founders, especially under the current circumstances.
"It's tremendous validation, but it is also humbling. We're pretty thankful to be in that position, and we want to make sure that we do the right things to continue to honor the opportunity that we see in front of us."