Virtru, the security startup that came out of research at the NSA, announced a $37 million Series B financing round today led by Iconiq Capital.
The company also announced the formation of Virtru Labs, an entity to be led by company co-founder and CTO Will Ackerly. The Lab will act as an innovation engine for the company, while trying to make Virtru’s underlying technology, Trusted Data Format (TDF), an industry standard for exchanging data securely in a similar manner that PDF developed into a standard way of exchanging documents.
CEO and co-founder John Ackerly (and brother of Will) says this has been a goal since the earliest days of the company and starting the lab is one of the reasons they wanted to raise this round. “My brother and I firmly believe you need an open framework in order to achieve the vision of true default security,” he told TechCrunch.
They believe by investing time and dollars to get third parties to adopt the TDF and adopting all tiers of this data format, it could remove the friction we have today when data is being shared across systems, while eliminating vendor lock-in.
The company currently offers tools for end-to-end email encryption in G-Suite and Office 365, but they hope to expand to file sync and share applications and chat. They also want to promote technical partnerships through the SDK they launched earlier this year. Finally, they want to expand globally by growing a channel partner system.
Ackerly says all of that takes money and that’s why they went looking for this round. It didn’t hurt that the company has experienced explosive growth over the last year adding 3000 new customers for a total of over 8000 using their products, while tripling revenue (they did not provide an exact figure).
Ackerly says one of the reasons for this growth is an increasing desire on the part of users to have a trust mechanism for sharing information online. “If you look at our partnership with Google, with Microsoft, with Amazon; these are all platform companies that are coming to grips with this privacy imperative. We are in a crisis of trust as a society and Virtru has always taken the approach of partnering closely because these workflows matter to end users,” he said. He adds that this really wouldn’t work if the company tried to create a new set of tools.
Vitru has around 80 employees today and Ackerly expects that to grow by around 50 percent over the coming year as they move into new markets, grow the lab and expand channel and partner support.
The round was led by Iconiq Capital with participation from returning investors Bessemer Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Samsung, Blue Delta Capital, and Soros Capital. Today’s round brings the total raised to over $76 million since the company was founded in 2011.