- On Tuesday, Expanse announced it closed $70 million in a Series C funding led by TPG Growth.
- The idea for Expanse came to CEO Tim Junio when he was in graduate school and contracting for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
- Expanse monitors the public internet, scanning for devices belonging to the customer — and makes sure they’re not talking to hackers or other bad guys without the owners knowing.
- Expanse has already launched its second product and plans to focus more on international sales.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
While Expanse CEO and co-founder Tim Junio was in graduate school, he had an “a-ha!” moment when he read an academic paper from the University of Michigan with an ambitious idea for scanning the entire Internet for security flaws.
That idea grew into Expanse, which started while Junio and cofounder Matt Kraning were in graduate school, when they worked as consultants for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. There, they prototyped and worked on military data science projects, but ultimately decided to go their own way.
“What we wanted to do was control our own destiny,” Junio said. “We wanted to have our own projects and our own ideas and then decide what to do with them. That’s effectively what we decided to do with Expanse.”
Junio realized that it would be valuable to monitor the Internet in real time to help customers detect attacks and risky behavior. More specifically, Expanse watches the entire public internet, monitoring for any of their computers, phones, or other gadgetry that’s leaking data to hackers or otherwise connecting to systems that they shouldn’t. The idea is that when it comes to cybersecurity, forewarned is forearmed.
“If you’re one of the good people, you can use the same technology to be faster than attackers,” Junio told Business Insider.
Now on Tuesday, Expanse announced it closed $70 million in a Series C funding led by TPG Growth. Arianna Huffington, Peter Thiel, and other individual investors also participated in the round. Indeed, venture captialists recently told Business Insider to keep an eye on Expanse, which is poised to go big this year.
Read more: VCs say these 30 cybersecurity startups will blow up in 2019
Monitoring the expanse of the internet
Junio and Kraning started to raise money while still contractors at DARPA — they wanted to start building prototypes of their big dea.
“Each of us had a sense that working at DARPA, we were able to do meaningful and impactful work, but we didn’t own the whole process because we were contractors and consultants,” Junio said. “Someone else would make the resourcing decisions.”
Junio says from DARPA, he learned about how to try new things until you hit on a solution that’s just right. He says that in the world of software, where there are many copycats, you always have to be willing to invest in that kind of experimentation.
“In enterprise, I think that big software companies rip off smaller ones all the time,” Junio said. There’s a lot of mimicry. You can’t survive based on one breakthrough in enterprise software. You have to continue to do new things. It’s deep in our DNA to almost do the pattern of what we were doing at DARPA on iterating on an idea.”
Already, Expanse has launched its second product, which monitors to make sure that e-mails and other communications aren’t out in the digital ether where clients can’t control it. In the near future, Junio says Expanse plans to increase its push into international markets.
Although there aren’t any companies that do exactly what Expanse does, he’s anticipating competition from large software companies. In the longer term, though, Expanse has the advantage of being the first to do this exact thing.
“The problem we’re going after is just so big,” Junio said. ” I think it’s going to be pretty competitive. We’re the first to invent this software solution.”
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