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Island, which offers a secure browser that aims to give enterprises greater control over their data, today announced raising a $115 million series B funding round and a valuation of $1.3 billion as the company looks to accelerate the growth of its customer base. Since coming out of stealth with the Island browser in early February, the company has more than doubled its qualified pipeline of customers that are testing out the technology with their workforce, cofounder and CEO Mike Fey told VentureBeat.
The browser offers an unprecedented level of control over data in software-as-a-service (SaaS0 applications — and can displace a number of other security products as well, according to the company.
The Island browser offers multiple use cases for enterprise and mid-market businesses, but the overall benefit is that “when you can validate and confirm that your data can’t leave a given SaaS or web application, the risk level around that data just shrinks,” Fey said in an interview.
Ultimately, “in order to defend against the next wave of incredibly advanced attacks, you need to shrink your attack surface,” he said.
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Now, with strong early customer traction, Island says it has raised its series B round to scale up its sales efforts and continue to develop new product capabilities. Insight Partners led the funding round, with additional backing from Stripes and Sequoia Capital. The company says it has now raised a total of “more than $200 million” since its launch in mid-2020.
Stopping data threats
Founded by two former Symantec executives, Island disclosed details about its Island Enterprise Browser for the first time on February 1 as it exited stealth. The Island browser is built on Chromium and has a look and feel very similar to Google’s Chrome browser. The difference, the company says, is with the browser’s numerous built-in capabilities for protecting against data exfiltration and web-based threats.
In particular, web-accessed business applications can be secured against data leakage with the ability to control functions such as copy, paste, download and screenshots for sensitive information.
The idea is for enterprises to set up their key SaaS applications to only be accessible through the Island browser. For instance, a user who tries to log into Salesforce in a typical browser could be forwarded to the Island browser, he said—in the same way that you get directed to Zoom upon clicking a meeting link.
Along with capabilities for preventing data exfiltration, the Island browser also provides web security measures such as built-in safe browsing, web filtering, exploit prevention and web isolation.
Another key use case for the browser is for enabling bring-your-own-device (BYOD) — without the need for any other infrastructure — for contractors or employees.
Depending on the type of customer, some use cases are resonating more than others, Fey said. For instance, financial services firms are focused on data protection, while technology firms are interested primarily in BYOD and contractor access, he said.
“The policies and procedures being adopted by financial services may be different than high tech, or may be different than retail,” Fey said. “And so it enables us to be a very unique product by vertical, without having to actually build our product by vertical.”
In terms of customers, Island now has customers in “almost all major verticals,” with an emphasis on financial services, retail and technology, he said. However, regardless of what vertical Island speaks to, the product is finding a lot of interest, he said.
“Eighty percent of the time, when we brief a C-level executive, they end up bringing us in for evaluation in their company,” Fey said. “I’ve never had anything like that.”
Island isn’t disclosing the total number of customers it has for now, or additional customer names. The company previously disclosed that specialty materials company Ashland Global Holdings is among its customers.
Displacing other tools
The startup says it’s also beginning to see early indicators that its browser can in fact help with displacing other security products, too — lowering or eliminating the reliance on data loss prevention (DLP), web filtering solutions and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).
“They are simplifying their environments by reducing the amount of other systems” that they need to use, Fey said.
Fey previously served as the president of Symantec and as chief technology officer at McAfee. He founded Island with CTO Dan Amiga—previously the founder and CTO of Fireglass, which was acquired by Symantec.
Island is based in Dallas and operates its research and development in Tel Aviv, Israel. The startup has 120 employees, and expects to end the year with about 200 employees.
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