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5 cybersecurity vendors to watch in 2021

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and economic setbacks, 2020 was another big year for investments in cybersecurity vendors. Here are five startups that stood out from the crowd.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic led to an overall difficult year across many industries, cybersecurity vendors saw more investment dollars in 2020 than the year before.

Last year saw the rise of security risks around remote working, a further expansion of ransomware (including the standardization of Maze's name-and-shame tactics) and huge cyberattacks in the form of Twitter's social engineering attack and the SolarWinds supply chain attack. Perhaps as a result of those increased threats, $8.1 billion was invested into cybersecurity companies last year as of Dec. 21 (up from $7.4 billion in 2019), according to a Crunchbase article.

Some of these aforementioned investments include massive sums received by well-known players such as endpoint security vendor SentinelOne, which pulled in $267 million in Series F financing in November, and cloud access security broker Netskope, which earned a $340 million investment in February. But a significant amount of money was also directed toward cybersecurity startups like BigID.

BigID was featured in SearchSecurity's list of vendors to watch in 2020, with its data management and privacy law compliance platform. Since then (and the companion Q&A with chief product officer Nimrod Vax), the company raised two rounds of funding -- a $50 million series C in January and a $70 million series D in December -- which brought its total funding from under $100 million to well over $200 million and BigID to unicorn status.

SearchSecurity looks at five emerging companies that raised significant funding in 2020 and are well positioned for further growth in 2021.

Orca Security

Orca Security is an Israeli startup based in Los Angeles and Tel Aviv, founded in 2019 by a group of co-founders including CEO Avi Shua and CPO Gil Geron. Their SaaS product provides security and compliance for cloud platforms including AWS, Azure and the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Compared to other cloud security companies, Orca promotes itself as being scalable, quick to deploy and context-aware regarding security risks and threats.

As of its latest funding round in December -- a $55 million series B -- Orca Security has raised $82 million to date, all in under two years. According to a press release announcing the latest round, the company aims to increase its sales team and triple its R&D team by the end of the year.

Confluera

Founded in 2018 and based in Palo Alto, Cal., Confluera offers a cross-layer detection and response (XDR) platform for enterprises and managed security service providers (MSSPs). Its differentiator is that it uses "autonomous and deterministic" tracking technology utilized by "causally stitching events in real-time instead of correlating events after the fact," according to its website. This allows its platform to build a narrative for how an attack occurred while it is still ongoing, which results in its brand of "continuous and real-time threat interception."

Confluera has raised $29 million following two rounds of funding, including a $20 million series B in May.

Salt Security

Salt Security provides API security via its core offering, which uses AI and machine learning to offer greater API visibility, eliminate vulnerabilities and prevent attacks. The company was founded in 2016 by Israeli Defense Forces alumni and is primarily based in Palo Alto and Tel Aviv. They've raised approximately $60 million total, including two funding rounds in 2020: a $30 million series B in December, and a $20 million series A in June. The company said that new funding will be put toward customer acquisition, product development and sales and marketing.

Securiti.ai

Securiti.ai gained new visibility this year when they were awarded the title of "Most Innovative Startup" during last February's Innovation Sandbox at RSA Conference 2020. Founded in 2018, the San Jose-based startup offers artificial intelligence-powered privacy compliance and data risk management, among other features. Securiti.ai's goal is to automate data privacy compliance for organizations to make it easier for organizations to manage the regulatory burden. The company has raised over $80 million to date, including a $50 million series B in January.

Axis Security

Although Axis Security began in 2018, the need for its access management platform offering would become greatly enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic, where remote work would become the 2020 enterprise standard. That could be a reason why the company raised $49 million in funding this year across funding rounds in March and September. Axis Security's platform, Application Access Cloud, is uses a zero-trust access approach built for remote employees, and third parties including contractors and business partners. The vendor aims to replace traditional VPNs with its zero-trust approach and a priority on complete visibility.

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