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Ionic Security Raises $9.4m from Kleiner Perkins, Tech Operators, ff Venture Capital

I couldn’t be more excited to share that one of our portfolio companies, Ionic Security (formerly Social Fortress), has raised $9.4 million in Series A1 funding, led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with TechOperators, Ken Levine, and Dr. Paul Judge also participating. Ted Schlein, general partner at KPCB, and Tom Noonan, partner at TechOperators, will join the board of directors.  (This is the second ff VC company that KPCB has invested in, after Klout.)

I met Adam Ghetti, Founder/CTO, at the first Flashpoint Demo Day in New York in early 2012 at Union Square Ventures.  ff VC became the only and first institutional investor and I joined the company’s board in May.   ff also provides a suite of financial and accounting services to them, as we do for over a dozen portfolio companies.

Adam is a brilliant technologist, who was astute enough to know that he didn’t have the background to be the solo leader of a scale B2B technology company.  This was a great example of the “Rich vs. King” dilemma that HBS Professor Noam Wasserman explores in his excellent book, Founder’s Dilemmas.

Adam made the decision to go with “Rich” vs. just “King”, which we as a VC think is usually the right decision once you decide to be VC-backed.  From my first conversations with Adam, he said that he was planning to bring in a business-focused CEO.  This showed an unusual level of humility and introspection for a founder.  Adam and team proceeded to do exactly that.  One of the key steps in the company’s evolution was the recruiting of Steve Abbott, the new and very experienced CEO, and a past senior colleague of board member Phil Dunkelberger (Founder / CEO, PGP Corp., acquired by Symantec) .

Steve and Adam come from very contrasting backgrounds and Steve is close to 2x Adam’s age, and precisely because of these differences, they’ve  built a very effective team together.  It’s been a pleasure to see them gel and work together to hit client milestones, this major fundraising milestone, and many achievements to come.

The company’s fundamental vision is that we are out of control of our own data and digital lives. While we might believe our online identities are secure, everyone is hackable—up to and including the CEO of Foxconn and the Iranian military.  In the past, users had two solutions: don’t use web-based services at all, or hide behind walls.  Since the upside of web-based tools like Salesforce, Box, and Dropbox is so significant, neither of those options is very attractive anymore.  Walls are not the solution, especially in a world where the worst of us know how to climb.

Leaving the user experience completely intact, Ionic does its magic while your data is on its way to, living in, and coming back from the cloud.  So if you write an IM about an M&A deal, your recipient can read it, but anyone hacking into your cloud app or internet service provider only sees a string of encrypted characters. This also means your cloud app and internet service provider cannot see your data either.

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We think Ionic will become a standard layer of security in countless enterprises and organizations.  We look forward to their continued success.



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