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Query.ai, a startup developing what it calls a “security control plane” for enterprises, today announced that it closed a $15 million series A round led by SYN Ventures with participation from ClearSky Security and South Dakota Equity Partners. The round, which brings the company’s total raised to nearly $20 million, will be used to support product R&D in the coming year, CEO Dhiraj Sharan said in a statement.

Cybersecurity is a persistent challenge at organizations with sprawling digital operations. According to Ponemon Institute research, only half of companies have a consistent encryption plan implemented across the entire enterprise. In another report — this conducted by Cyentia Research for cybersecurity company Siemplify — only 1 in 5 security operations practitioners described their organizations as having “mature” cybersecurity capabilities.

Query provides a browser-based product that derives insights from cybersecurity data by connecting to cloud, on-premises, and third-party software-as-a-service platforms via APIs. Query offers tools that enable users to investigate and respond to threats in real time and spot historical trends, the company says, beating back attackers before they cause a major breach.

Query.ai

Above: Query.ai’s cyber monitoring dashboard.

Image Credit: Query.ai

“The single pane of glass for users to drive their security operations has not yet been realized, and has long remained out of reach. With the explosion of data living in lots of different places, companies need a radically different alternative to the antiquated universal centralization approach,” Maloney told VentureBeat via email. “Dhiraj and Andrew founded Query to provide organizations with a way to actually access, investigate, and respond to data wherever it lives, without the hassle or cost of duplicating or transferring data or ripping and replacing existing technologies. The Query security investigation platform is the only solution on the market that makes this possible today.”

Cybersecurity dashboard

Centralizing cybersecurity data often poses an implementation blocker for enterprises. Citing data from the Ponemon Institute, Query says that the average organization spends $2.7 million per year on engineering work used to integrate disparate security data and build out rules and content. Further, only a fraction of organizations rate their security engineering efforts as “very effective.”

“The pandemic has created urgency in the market for our security investigation platform. When [the pandemic], suddenly hit and everyone went into lockdown, we saw a mass acceleration toward digital transformation and remote work. The size and sudden nature of the shift was a bit chaotic for some businesses and the threat actors took advantage, using the confusion to advance their nefarious agendas,” Maloney added. “In the shifting of the workforce from offices to remote, literally overnight, attack surfaces were expanded to a point that they were hard to discern. And with the expanded attack surface we saw a corresponding increase in threats and business risk. For several reasons, all predominantly related to the power of human resilience in some way, shape, or form, we adapted to the new normal. Companies sped up their plans to move to the cloud. They started exploring the concepts of a perimeter-free world and zero trust models and making years’ worth of digital transformation progress in a matter of months.”

Twenty-employee Query joins a growing segment of cybersecurity startups that have attracted record venture capital investment in recent months. According to Pitchbook, less than six months into 2021, cybersecurity companies nabbed $9.9 billion globally — 96% of the total raised in 2020. Driving the backing is an alarmingly high number of cyberattacks, with 2021 breaking a record for zero-day hacking attacks as well as ransomware attempts. High-profile incidents continue unabated, as evidenced by a ransomware attack on Sinclair Broadcasting Group that took dozens of local TV stations owned by the company off the air this week.

“While we are not publicly disclosing financial details, so far in 2021 we are realizing strong market adoption, revenue growth, and gross margins. We plan to spend 2022 focused on execution to meet growing market demand,” Maloney said. “The company currently has a dozen enterprise organizations as customers, several of which are service providers for companies with numerous affiliates, bringing the total organizations served to approximately 100.”

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