Home / Tech / This CEO explains how his hot cybersecurity startup went from having 'several near death experiences' to raising $100 million

This CEO explains how his hot cybersecurity startup went from having 'several near death experiences' to raising $100 million

Vectra President and CEO Hitesh Sheth

  • On Monday, cybersecurity startup Vectra announced it closed $100 million in series E funding.
  • Vectra’s product uses artificial intelligence to scan customers’ network for threats.
  • Vectra CEO Hitesh Sheth explains how his company went from having “several near death experiences” to its current position of strength. 
  • Read more on the Business Insider homepage.

Hitesh Sheth, CEO of the network threat detection startup Vectra, says that startups like his can innovate faster than legacy companies, especially when it comes to protecting against cyber-threats. 

Essentially, what Vectra’s product does is it scours the network to find suspicious activity and threats. Investors saw the potential in the company, Sheth says, as cybersecurity becomes more important to modern businesses. 

On Monday, Vectra announced it closed $100 million in series E funding, in a round led by TCV. It brings Vectra’s total funding to more than $200 million.

“The one common thread across all infrastructure is the network,” Sheth told Business Insider. “If you’re able to get to the network directly, that’s your best shot at finding the most advanced attacks. That’s what we specialize in.”

Sheth says he’s always been passionate about security, and that interest led him to leaving Aruba Networks in 2012 in search of a new idea. 

“The idea of building breakthrough technology from the ground up was very appealing,” Sheth said. “In 2012, there was an inflection point that I saw in using AI that comes from security. It sounded like the right time.”

The team team spent the first couple of years making the technology work — Sheth said it felt like there were “several near death experiences,” as the promise of AI didn’t quite match up with the reality. Over time, Vectra gradually improved the technology, and in turn, attracted a strong base of customers, he says.

With that momentum, and with its technology proven out, Sheth says it was much easier to obtain funding than it may have been otherwise. 

Read more: VCs say these 30 cybersecurity startups will blow up in 2019

He believes that in the next five years, AI will completely transform security, but there are challenges ahead. That’s why he invested time in hiring talent and speaking to customers about their needs.

Sheth hopes for the company to go public in two to three years, but he says he’s not in a hurry. In the meantime, Vectra plans to use the funding to expand globally, grow its headcount, and work on its artificial intelligence cloud security product.

“That’s an important piece of IP we’ve built over 6, 7, 8 years now,” Sheth said. “At this point, for where we are, it would be hard [for other companies] to catch up.”

SEE ALSO: These are the 13 hottest companies in cloud security software, according to IT professionals

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