Dubliner’s NYC tech start-up Sonrai raises $20m

Sonrai Security, a New York headquartered cybersecurity company founded by Dublin native Brendan Hannigan, has big ambitions.

Sonrai Security, which is a leading player in the public cloud security market, has announced that it has secured $20m in series B funding in a round led by Menlo Ventures with full participation from founding investor Polaris Partners and Series A lead investor Ten Eleven Ventures.

The new funding, which brings the total raised to $38m, will be used to accelerate research and development along with global sales and marketing activities for Sonrai Dig, the company’s identity and data governance platform, which is currently used by a growing number of global enterprise organisations.

“The increasing frequency of cloud breaches caused by identity and data access complexity has driven significant traction for our Sonrai Dig platform among large enterprises”

Sonrai means “details” or “data” in Irish. The company was co-founded in 2017 by Dublin native Brendan Hannigan and business partner Sandy Bird. It is understood that the company is planning to locate an engineering facility in Ireland within the next two years. 

Incidentally, Menlo Ventures, one of the biggest players in the Silicon Valley tech scene, gets its name from the city of Menlo Park in California, which owes its name to when two Irish emigrants in the 19th century called Dennis Oliver and his brother-in-law DC McGlynn from the village of Menlo (Menlough, or ‘small lake’ as Gaeilge) in Galway bought a 1,700-acre tract of land in the 1850s, 48 kilometres south of San Francisco

Digging for data risks

The Sonrai Dig platform automatically uncovers identity, data and cloud platform risks, automatically eliminates these risks and continuously monitors to ensure new risks and unusual activity are quickly identified. 

Sonrai Dig builds a comprehensive graph detailing every relationship between identities (people and non-people) and data that exist within cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, GCP and Kubernetes. DevOps-specific workflows represented graphically as “swimlanes” enable easy escalations, certifications and risk-exception handling and provide role-based access control for development, security, cloud and audit teams, to ensure adherence to policy. 

“The increasing frequency of cloud breaches caused by identity and data access complexity has driven significant traction for our Sonrai Dig platform among large enterprises, who see it as the basis of their cloud security model,” said Brendan Hannigan, CEO and co-founder of Sonrai Security.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with Menlo Ventures, whose long experience in this space will help us rapidly accelerate our expansion.” 

Identity management in the 21st century

Public cloud utilisation by global enterprises generates hundreds of cloud accounts, thousands of data stores and tens of thousands of ephemeral pieces of compute involving multitudes of development teams.

Improperly configured, this ever-expanding array of interdependencies and inheritances leads to many security risks including over-permissioned identities, separation of duties risks and excessive access paths to critical data. Legacy cloud security tools have failed to address identity and data complexity and either miss critical vulnerabilities or send continuous alarms, creating high levels of noise that overwhelm security teams’ resources, leading to inaction.

“The shift to the cloud is inevitable. And with that shift, cloud identity and data governance become primary concerns,” said Venky Ganesan, Partner at Menlo Ventures.

“As enterprises move first to one cloud, and later to multiple clouds, the problems around access/privilege management, configuration drift, and sensitive data loss become increasingly complex. Drawing on a proven team with strong domain expertise, Sonrai built an incredible solution that wins over sophisticated cloud and security buyers. We’ve bet on this team before and are proud to back them a second time.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 16 October, 2020