Containers have become a ubiquitous cornerstone in how companies manage their data, a trend that has only accelerated in the last eight months with the larger shift to cloud services and more frequent remote working due to the coronavirus pandemic. Alongside that, startups building services to enable containers to be used better are also getting a boost.
StackRox, which develops Kubernetes-native security solutions, says that its business grew by 240% in the first half of this year, and on the back of that, it is announcing today that it has raised $ 26.5 million to expand its business into international markets and continue investing in its R&D.
The funding, which appears to be a Series C, has an impressive list of backers. It is being led by Menlo Ventures, with Highland Capital Partners, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Sequoia Capital and Redpoint Ventures also participating. Sequoia and Redpoint are previous investors, and the company has raised around $ 60 million to date.
HPE is a strategic backer in this round:
“At HPE, we are working with our customers to help them accelerate their digital transformations,” said Paul Glaser, VP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and head of Pathfinder. “Security is a critical priority as they look to modernize their applications with containers. We’re excited to invest in StackRox and see it as a great fit with our new software HPE Ezmeral to help HPE customers secure their Kubernetes environments across their full application life cycle. By directly integrating with Kubernetes, StackRox enables a level of simplicity and unification for DevOps and Security teams to apply the needed controls effectively.”
Kamal Shah, the CEO, said that StackRox is not disclosing its valuation, but he confirmed it has definitely gone up. For some context, according to PitchBook data, the company was valued at $ 145 million in its last funding round, a Series B in 2018. Its customers today include the likes of Priceline, Brex, Reddit, Zendesk and Splunk, as well as government and other enterprise customers, in a container security market that analysts project will be worth some $ 2.2 billion by 2024, up from $ 568 million last year.
StackRox got its start in 2014, when containers were starting to pick up momentum in the market. At the time, its focus was a little more fragmented, not unlike the container market itself — it provided solutions that could be used with Docker containers as well as others. Over time, Shah said that the company chose to hone its focus just on Kubernetes, originally developed by Google and open-sourced, and now essentially the de facto standard in containerisation.
“We made a bet on Kubernetes at a time when there were multiple orchestrators, including Mesosphere, Docker and others,” he said. “Over the last two years Kubernetes has won the war and become the default choice, the Linux of the cloud and the biggest open-source cloud application. We are all Kubernetes all the time because what we see in the market are that a majority of our customers are moving to it. It has over 35,000 contributors to the open-source project alone, it’s not just Red Hat (IBM) and Google.” Research from CNCF estimates that nearly 80% of organizations that it surveyed are running Kubernetes in production.
That is not all good news, however, with the interest underscoring a bigger need for Kubernetes-focused security solutions for enterprises that opt to use it.
Shah says that some of the typical pitfalls in container architecture arise when they are misconfigured, leading to breaches; as well as around how applications are monitored; how developers use open-source libraries; and how companies implement regulatory compliance. Other security vulnerabilities that have been highlighted by others include the use of insecure container images; how containers interact with each other; the use of containers that have been infected with rogue processes; and having containers not isolated properly from their hosts.
But, Shah noted, “Containers in Kubernetes are inherently more secure if you can deploy correctly.” And to that end that is where StackRox’s solutions attempt to help: The company has built a multi-purposes toolkit that provides developers and security engineers with risk visibility, threat detection, compliance tools, segmentation tools and more. “Kubernetes was built for scale and flexibility, but it has lots of controls, so if you misconfigure it, it can lead to breaches. So you need a security solution to make sure you configure it all correctly,” said Shah.
He added that there has been a definite shift over the years from companies considering security solutions as an optional element into one that forms part of the consideration at the very core of the IT budget — another reason why StackRox and competitors like TwistLock (acquired by Palo Alto Networks) and Aqua Security have all seen their businesses really grow.
“We’ve seen the innovation companies are enabling by building applications in containers and Kubernetes. The need to protect those applications, at the scale and pace of DevOps, is crucial to realizing the business benefits of that innovation,” said Venky Ganesan, partner, Menlo Ventures, in a statement. “While lots of companies have focused on securing the container, only StackRox saw the need to focus on Kubernetes as the control plane for security as well as infrastructure. We’re thrilled to help fuel the company’s growth as it dominates this dynamic market.”
“Kubernetes represents one of the most important paradigm shifts in the world of enterprise software in years,” said Corey Mulloy, general partner, Highland Capital Partners, in a statement. “StackRox sits at the forefront of Kubernetes security, and as enterprises continue their shift to the cloud, Kubernetes is the ubiquitous platform that Linux was for the Internet era. In enabling Kubernetes-native security, StackRox has become the security platform of choice for these cloud-native app dev environments.”
Pre-seed, 2 technical founders, $ 5K invested. I do "everything but the tech" but think my CTO is too much of an "engineer".
My Opinion: * Webflow in 2 hours * $ 30/month hosting fee
CTO spent 3 months making the landing page… * Creating UI libraries from scratch * React.js landing page * Google Cloud Kubernetes * Spent $ 1,000/yr on a "premium" domain name
He says because investors are going to look at the Tech Stack and this is how all big startups do it. Now we are getting to the SaaS itself. I just want to throw some basic jQuery at it and see if the market is there. He wants to build everything "properly" with react containers and all this fancy stuff.
Danish IoT startups Seluxit and Onomondo have joined hands to make a difference during the COVID-19 global health crisis. They have become a part of CURA, which is an international initiative aiming to transform shipping containers into intensive care units during the pandemic outbreak. CURA (Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments) project debuted in Italy to bring a sort of relief to the pressured healthcare systems during the crisis.
It uses containers that help make intensive care units easily available just like tents. These ICU-turned containers are called CURA pods and are as secure as insulation rooms. This is possible with the special biocontainment technology.
Heads up about CURA!
CURA helps anyone create their own CURA containers as it is an open-source project. It was initiated by CRA (Carlo Ratti Associati), a design and innovation agency with a global network of architects, engineers, military experts, doctors, and NGOs. CURA has been supported by the World Economic Forum during the global crisis and its first unit of CURA pod was developed with the financial backing from the pan-European bank UniCredit. It is installed at a temporary hospital in Italy.
How does it work?
Seluxit and Onomondo help during the crisis by collecting data from the CURA containers. This data is sent to hospitals and convey the status of ICU units. For instance, a message is sent to indicate that the filters have to be replaced. The solution is expected to let doctors control how patients feel and help them communicate with their family and friends in the future.
Daniel Lux, CEO of Seluxit, explained, “The Internet of Things can contribute to a lot of good in the world. That is why we are pleased to have found a project that will allow us to help while the crisis is on the wane.”
Onomondo’s CEO, Michael Freundt Karlsen, continued, “When we heard about the CURA project, we knew right away that we had an opportunity to contribute and make a difference in the fight against COVID-19. This is a global crisis that requires a swift and global response. We have a unique opportunity and therefore a great responsibility to help.”
The existing technologies used by Seluxit and Onomondo are customised to projects just like CURA. The SLX Porcupine product from Seluxit is central and is a versatile mini computer dedicated to collect 1 of 3 data. This way, it can create intelligent applications. And, the global IoT network of Onomondo ensures that the right data reaches the data people irrespective of where the CURA pods are located.
Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news.
The post COVID-tech for corona patients: Two Danish IoT startups turn shipping containers into intensive-care units appeared first on Silicon Canals .
While human travel has become severely restricted in recent months, the movement of goods has remained a constant priority — and in some cases, has become even more urgent. Today, a startup out of Switzerland that builds hardware and operates a logistics network designed to transport one item in particular — pharmaceuticals — is announcing a significant round to fuel its growth.
SkyCell — a designer of “smart containters” powered by software to maintain constant conditions for drugs that need to be kept at strict temperatures, humidity levels, and levels of vibration, which are in turn used to transport pharmaceuticals around the globe on behalf of drug companies — is today announcing. that it has raised $ 62 million in growth funding.
This latest round is being led by healthcare investor MVM Partners, with participation also from family offices, a Swiss insurance company that declined to be named, as well as previous investors the Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund (managed by Credit Suisse and UBS), and the BCGE Bank’s growth fund.
The company was founded in 2012 Switzerland when Richard Ettl and Nico Ros were tasked to design a storage facility for one of the big Swiss pharma giants. The exec charged with overseeing the project brainstormed that the work they were putting in could potentially be applied to transportation containers, and thus SkyCell was born.
Today, Ettl (who is the CEO, while Ros is the CTO), said in an interview that the company now works with eight of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies and has been in validation trials with a further seven. These use SkyCell’s network of some 22,000 air freight pallets to move their products around the world.
The new capital will be used to expand that reach further, specifically in the U.S. and Asia, and to double its fleet to become the biggest pharmaceutical transportation company globally. With 30 of the 50 biggest-selling drugs in the world being temperature sensitive (and some generics for one of the biggest-selling, the arthritis medication Humira, now also coming out), this makes for a huge opportunity.
And unsurprisingly, several of SkyCell’s customers are working on COVID-19 medications, Ettl said, either to help ease symptoms or potentially to vaccinate or eradicate the virus, and so it’s standing at the ready to play a role in getting drugs to where they need to be.
“We are well positioned in case there is a vaccine developed. Out of the six pharma companies developing these right now, four of them are our customers, so there is a high likelihood we would transport something,” Ettl said.
For now, he said SkyCell has been involved in helping to transport “supportive” medications related to the outbreak, such as flu shots to make sure people are not falling ill with other viral infections at the same time.
SkyCell is not disclosing its valuation but we understand that it’s in the many hundreds of millions of dollars. The company had raised some $ 36 million in equity and debt before this, bringing the total outside funding now to $ 98 million.
In a market that’s estimated to be worth some $ 2.8 billion annually and growing at a rate of between 15% and 20% each year, there are a number of freight businesses that focus on the transportation of pharmaceuticals. They include not only freight companies but airlines themselves, which often buy in containers from third parties. (And for some more context, one of its competitors, Envirotainer, was acquired for over $ 1 billion in 2918; while another, CSafe, has raised significantly more funding.)
But there was virtually no innovation in the market, and most pharmaceutical companies factored in failure rates of between 4% and 12% depending on where the drugs were headed.
One key differentiator with SkyCell has been its containers, which are able to withstand temperatures as high as 60 degrees Celsius or as low as negative 10 degrees Celsius, and have tracking on them to better monitor their movements from A to B.
These came to the market at a time when incumbents were only able to (and some still are only able to) guarantee insulation for temperatures as high as 40 degrees, which was not as pressing an issue in the past as it is today, in part because of rising temperatures around the globe, and in part because of the growing sophistication of pharmaceuticals.
“We’ve found that the number of days where [one has to consider] temperature extremes has been going up,” Ettl said. “Last year, we had 30 days where it was warmer than 40 degrees Celsius across our network of countries.”
On top of the containers themselves, SkyCell has built a software platform that taps into the kind of big data analytics that are now part and parcel of how modern companies in the logistics industry work today, in order to optimise movement and best routing for packages.
The conditions it considers include not only the obvious ones around temperature, humidity and vibration, but distance and time of travel, as well as overall carbon emissions. SkyCell claims that its failure rate comes out at less than 0.1%, with CO2 emissions reduced by almost half on a typical shipment.
Together, the hardware and software are covered by some 100 patents, the company says.