Anvilogic: $45M Series C is Just the Beginning

Anvilogic: $45M Series C is Just the Beginning

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There are several statistics describing the fate of startups as they mature from Seed stage to beyond. It is fairly widespread knowledge that less than 10% of startups ever reach the Series C stage, in fact the number may be closer to 1%. At least, that’s what the statistic for the Anvilogic cohort – SaaS and cybersecurity startups founded in 2019 – shows. This makes us not only proud, but also reflective as well as gratitude-filled for the journey that has resulted in us raising our Series C funding led by one of the largest and most experienced cybersecurity venture firms, Evolution Equity Partners.

Now, statistics are just a lagging indicator of success or failure. And, statistics do not help companies execute or succeed. Rather, companies, particularly startups, succeed and march forward based on their vision, their team, their execution, and partially based on market conditions (think inflated valuation hype cycles like 1999 or economy-driven bust cycles like 2008). Statistics come after the fact.

Vision. When we started Anvilogic, I knew we were setting out to break legacy paradigms, especially the monolithic nature of the SIEM architecture. This structure set the stage for rampant price hikes and vendor lock-in, allowing a sort of complacency amongst the legacy vendors that slowed down their innovation. This needed to be broken, and we had just the right idea for a transformational platform that would do it. Today, we call it a Multi-data Platform SIEM, that has accomplished a significant portion of this vision … but we are never done with product building and innovation, so the journey continues. A solid vision, entrenched in the reality of the marketplace, and one that remains consistent through the journey, is the key ingredient to success.

Investors. In order to start building, the first community we needed to sell our vision to was, naturally, our early investors – Foundation Capital and Point72 Ventures. I remember the whiteboard drawings and notebook-scratchings from those early meetings, those debates with Ashu Garg, Sid Trivedi, and Noah Carr, and the visible improvements to the story and the plan, resulting in our Seed funding back in mid-2019. Thus, started the company, with money in the bank, and solid investors behind us. Many thanks to their early and continued support, followed by strong investors: Shirish Sathaye from Cervin Ventures (our Series A lead), David Dubick, who moved from Point 72 Ventures to Outpost Ventures (our Series B lead), Dean Mai and Chris Fisher from Myriad Ventures, Grayden Gaykowski and Spencer McLeod from G Squared, Mythili Sankaran from Neythri Futures Fund, Hunter Somerville from Stepstone Group, and now, Karthik Subramanian from Evolution Equity, our Series C lead investor. Arguably, he has taken the longest leap and has joined us in this important growth phase with a lot of faith and trust in Anvilogic, and we are grateful. In addition, we have had the good fortune to have great angel investors, who have been generous with advice, none of whom needs an introduction – Dan Warmenhoven, Nikesh Arora and Godfrey Sullivan (who also graciously serves as our independent board member). All money is not the same – having the right investors on your team is another key ingredient to success.

Team. Perhaps the most important ingredient of all, and the one that’s hardest to build, motivate and retain, is team. Right from the beginning, we were conscious in our decision to bring in SOC practitioners to tag-team with our engineers and lead product development – building the right product for the right ideal customer profile is imperative for traction. Along with that, we invested in data scientists who knew cybersecurity to build AI ground up into the platform, and not as an afterthought. This unique combination of developers, SOC practitioners and data scientists has been the singular top driver of our success thus far. It is often said that a good team can deliver results, even if we pivot the company, and that confidence is what I was always driven by, even though we never had to pivot the company. This team is what makes me wake up every day and want to go to work – if we were to do it all over again, we would go about it the exact same way and pick this very team every single time!

Execution. Now, execution is really what’s needed to win. The team needs to execute on the product as well as on the go-to-market fronts. Just having a vision or money in the bank or even a solid team is not going to help a startup win. Everyone on the team must be motivated and capable of executing different functions, technical and sales. And, having a customer-centric, product innovation obsession is non-negotiable as an element of execution. Staying relevant to a security practitioner over years, particularly in a SaaS business where one must continuously earn the right to participate, is hard – especially with the fast-paced landscape around us, and new technologies constantly appearing or evolving. This is where our team, led by ex-SOC practitioners, brings maximum value, helping us build what’s truly needed for a SOC practitioner, and delivering promises, not just making them. There’s pride in the team to see our product shine and not let down a customer. That’s what execution is all about – continue to sell a good product through shifting ecosystems. Ideas are “dime a dozen”, execution is everything – the harder part of a startup is the growth years, even more so than the founding and building years.

Culture. Let me get to the punchline on this right away – we definitely got this right! Right from day one, when culture was implicit, amongst just a dozen of us – we were working like a well-oiled machine. Eight months into it, we were hit hard by COVID. Yet the team stayed strong. Even as we paused hiring for the rest of 2020, we won our first 3 customers, who remain strong customers to date, and soon thereafter raised our Series A. And together we decided that we did not need the government’s small-business loan. As we continued our progress, gaining strong customers and marquee logos, one of the prominent compliments we often got was, “your team is fantastic”. And that was no coincidence or luck. It was a deliberate manifestation of our culture – respect, friendliness, diversity, customer obsession, product excellence and fearlessness. We have these written down, and we practice it daily, across the company. Even in hard times, and we definitely had some, like the Silicon Valley Bank fiasco during which all our money was possibly ‘lost’, and yet, we did not panic and survived yet another crisis. Our team loves working with each other, we get better daily because of each other, and we have hardly had any attrition even at nearly 5 years old! It feels like with our team and our culture, we can surpass any challenge thrown our way. It’s worth saying it again, we got this right!

As we continue to grow, we know we can never do it alone, nor do we want to. We are a part of the vast cybersecurity ecosystem, similar to how our customers view their world – it’s made of several players and their products, bringing value to real-world environments. In this world, we are proud partners of industry giants and innovators, such as Snowflake, with whom we have established a solid partnership over the years, and with whom we are jointly disrupting the legacy market and bringing break-through value to our customers, such as in the area of AI. Similarly, we are building partnerships with other innovators, such as Cribl, with whom we have joint customers and together with whom we bring transformational value to our customers. Other similar partnerships are underway and will be built along our journey, as we all succeed together – vendors and customers, jointly.

Above all, I wish to thank our customers – you have been our solid bedrock without whom we could not have built our company. Right from our early customers who placed faith in the first version of our platform, and who continue to still be our customers leveraging all our platform advancements, to the latest customers who chose us for partnership over the long haul, by making us a part of their SOC strategy, we are humbled by you. We thank each of you for your support, and guarantee that we will continue to be a “customer-first” company and deliver value for you every day.

There’s a saying that goes, “culture eats talent for breakfast” … while that is true, I ask, “Why choose? Why not have both on your side?!?” Because, that’s what we have at Anvilogic – culture AND talent. This unique combination has been powering us for the past nearly five years. And will continue to be the fuel for our next five years of success. We are a confident bunch, and with each growth milestone our confidence builds further. As one investor just said to me this week, “you only have to decide which you want to be – a GOOD company, or a GREAT one – as there’s no other choice for you!” I love that. That’s exactly how we think at Anvilogic and that’s why we will continue to succeed!!!

A HUGE thanks to our investors, our advisors, and our irreplaceable customers to whom we owe everything, and to whom we continue to pledge our undying commitment to jointly succeed. Onwards, now!

Karthik Kannan

CEO / Founder


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