Series A Funding To Fuel Growth of Its Cyber Risk Assessment Platform

By Iris Gonzalez website screenshot closed its Series A funding round for an undisclosed amount Tuesday. Houston Ventures, which invests in software for the energy industry, led the capital raise. The funding will help scale its predictive cyber risk intelligence platform for companies looking to automate the cybersecurity management of their operational technology (OT).

Cybersecurity risk management experts Ted Gutierrez, CEO, and Cherise Esparza, CTO, founded the Houston-based software company in 2017. The software platform helps companies in critical industry sectors who must maintain compliance standards and improve risk management efforts. Their software as a service (SaaS) provides an integrated risk management platform designed specifically for the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure facilities and their internet-connected machinery.

The company’s SaaS-based platform helps the site owners of critical infrastructure sites identify cyber risk and manage the integrated risk intelligence for their facility and machinery. Typically, this process is a manual one, so’s platform not only automates the cyber risk assessment process, it has enabled a digital transformation for industrial control systems (ISC) companies in vital sectors such as energy, Esparaza said.

Esparza has over 11 years’ experience managing information technology and ICS network infrastructures for enterprises such as Rackspace, Ernst & Young, Enbridge Energy, and Noble Drilling. Gutierrez is a military veteran with experience securing critical infrastructure networks at companies such as InfraGard and Shell, and the founder and CEO of Gulf Coast Risk Solutions, specializing in risk assessments and incident response for energy companies.

Cherise Esparza is co-founder and CTO of Courtesy photo.
Cherise Esparza is co-founder and CTO of Courtesy photo.

The two cyber professionals used to lament at the lack of automated digital solutions to the problem of cyber risk assessments for critical infrastructure operational technology, according to Esparaza.

“So we decided to build that solution for facility owners to manage their cybersecurity risks in OT environments,” Esparza said. released its software in 2018. After two years on the market, the demand for the startup’s SaaS pointed to the need for growth equity financing, Esparaza said.

“We’ve grown organically over the past three years,” Esparza said. “This funding will give us additional growth opportunities to focus on servicing our enterprise clients and investing in machine learning technology.”

Chip Davis, a managing partner at Houston Ventures, saw “how tightly tuned is to the needs of their customers.”

“Our discussions with the company’s customers revealed a state of maturity of beyond what we typically see in younger companies,” Davis stated. “Based on customer feedback, we could not pass on this deal.” 

The company has about 20 employees and is looking to hire a vice president of sales. Plans include adding another five to seven roles over the next two quarters, Esparza said, including more sales and technical workers in San Antonio. With customers in the United Kingdom and Germany, will also use some of its new funding to expand into Saudi Arabia.

“Digital transformation is no easy task in highly dynamic environments, especially when the risk of cyberattacks keeps rising daily,” stated Gutierrez.

Expanding to San Antonio is launching a new local office at Geekdom, led by Matt Wilbanks, the company’s recently named chief marketing officer. He was formerly the CEO and co-founder of the now closed San Antonio-based tech company HelpSocial.

Wilbanks joined the same week as the pandemic Stay at Home orders went into effect mid-March in Houston and San Antonio. He’s been learning about how in the industrial world, all the facilities and machinery in the field is connected to the internet.

“The SecurityGate platform automates the entire process and makes it digital for a faster, real-time assessment,” Wilbanks said. “What this team is doing in cyber risk management is revolutionary, it’s changed the way operations are run for our customers.”

When Wilbanks became available, Esparza, a San Antonio native, knew the opportunity to hire him would “help us grow and expand in San Antonio because it’s one of our focus areas,” Esparaza said. “We plan to tap into the cybersecurity resources in San Antonio.”

The startup plans to use the funding to grow as the digital innovation leader for managing cyber risk assessments in critical infrastructure sectors such as energy and other public utilities. Their platform can be used in manufacturing, supply chain logistics, even the healthcare field, Esparza said.

Long-term plans include making “stand out in the Texas ecosystem as a startup,” she added.

The founders started working on the Series A round last fall. The closing of the funding round was delayed by the COVID 19 pandemic, given economic volatility.

“Cybersecurity is a significant core competency for San Antonio, so of course we’re excited that SecurityGate is opening an office here at Geekdom, said Geekdom CEO Charles Woodin. “For a cyber company that’s gotten funding to expand to San Antonio will help show the community what’s possible.”

Featured image is a screenshot of the website. 

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