I am delighted to announce our Series B investment in Dragos, a pioneer in the fast emerging Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security market. My first exposure to the Industrial Control Systems was as a child as I toured various power plants in India with my dad, who oversaw an industrial business line for ABB in the country. I have drawn on those memories a lot over the past couple of years as we began going deep in the ICS security space. And that’s when I connected with the team at Dragos.
Between my work with Skycure when I was at Shasta and with PerimeterX here at Canaan, I’ve come to believe deeply that the best security companies tackle completely new surface vectors of attack head on, thus adding massive value to the cyber defense framework. ICS is an emerging critical vector. Often overlooked due to its arcane protocols and massive machinery, ICS is the central nervous system for myriad global industrial processes including manufacturing, oil and gas production and gas and electric utilities. A large piece of global economy is directly touched by these systems.
As an example, just the manufacturing industry in the United States produces ~2 trillion USD of output and employs ~16 million people. It is probably due to the sheer scale and reach of these systems, that they are increasingly becoming attractive targets of cyber warfare. Since the first major malware attack that took the electric grid down in Kiev, Ukraine in 2016, the intensity and variety of attacks have only increased. Unlike most other areas in cybersecurity, an attack on the industrial backbone can result in the loss of lives, giving security in this area particular strategic importance.
There is no better team to serve this fast growing market than Dragos. Rob Lee, Jon Lavender and Justin Cavinee came out of the National Security Agency in 2016 with a mission to “Safeguard Civilization.” Rob created the ICS cyber threat intelligence and intrusion analysis mission for the NSA. Over the past few years, he has become a go-to expert for lawmakers and government officials and private enterprises grappling with these issues. At Canaan we love working with founders like Rob who assume natural leadership in an emerging category and awaken markets and customers to what is coming around the corner. Dragos’ first year of sales and pipeline is testament to that and today’s customers include large utilities, manufacturing houses, and oil and gas companies – entities that value the visibility, threat detection and response protocol that Dragos brings to bear.
Beyond business, Canaan and Dragos share a philosophy on the importance of culture and teamwork. As engineers, Rob and I both believe deeply in WYSIWIG culture – what you see is what you get – which is an engineer’s dream. Dragos’ ethos of transparency and collaboration is one of the reasons they have made so much progress in such a short time.
Now that I have spent a lot of time steeped in this particular vector of security threat, I can’t look around my family’s and my day-to-day life without seeing the way massive ICS vulnerabilities can trickle down to impact the way we live our lives, around the world. The entire Canaan team and I are excited to further ignite the important work of this amazing team of Drago(n)s.