RedOwl Analytics, which analyzes digital communications to prevent threats in enterprise data, was named the Most Innovative startup company at the RSA Conference this week. Baltimore-based RedOwl, which was founded in 2011, has to date raised an undisclosed amount of funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture arm of the CIA. RedOwl CEO Guy Filippelli told peHUB that his company is currently raising a round of funding (targeted at about $8 million), and he confirmed he’s received at least one term sheet from a venture firm prior to the Innovation Sandbox competition.
Although there’s no financial reward with the prize, the event has proven to be a good predictor of would-be security startups. In 2010, virtualization security provider Altor Network won the contest and later was acquired by Juniper Networks for $95 million. In 2012, mobile app security provider Appthority took home the top prize, and has since raised more than $6 million in funding and continued to expand.
Other startups that have made a splash in the Sandbox, but didn’t win, have also gained notoriety. Startup competitor Sourcefire was acquired by Cisco last year. Just last month, Google acquired Sandbox participant Impermium. In addition, Bromium, one of the finalists in last year’s competition, has since raised $40 million in venture funding.
More than 50 startups focused on BYOD, cloud security incident response and denial of service attacks vied for a chance to be named Most Innovative company at this year’s RSA. The top 10 presented on Monday. The other finalists in addition to RedOwl were White Ops, Bluebox Security, Cylance, Co3 Systems, ThreatStream, Skycure, Defense.Net, Light Cyber, and Cyphort.
For the second year in a row, I was on the panel of judges who picked the winning company. The other judges were Asheem Chandna of Greylock Partners; Paul Kocher of Cryptography Research; George Hoyem of In-Q-Tel; Katie Moussouris of Microsoft; and Gerhard Eschelbeck of Sophos. Hoyem of In-Q-Tel recused himself from voting for RedOwl since his firm is an investor.
Photo of Guy Filippelli on stage at the RSA Conference’s Innovation Sandbox competition by Alastair Goldfisher.