February 13, 2019 | Investment Themes

What Mr. Robot teaches us about cybersecurity and why we love Elevate

Martina Lauchengco

Written by

Martina Lauchengco

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Scene from Mr. Robot

Even if you don’t watch Mr. Robot, it does a lot to portray hacker culture and mines the biggest ongoing risk in cybersecurity for seasons worth of menacing plot material: people.

The risks are real. Beyond the fiction of Hollywood, my personal experiences with it come from my brothers, both former officers in the Army, and my husband, who led product teams at two different cybersecurity startups. I listened for years as they shared their real-life struggles of dealing with the rapidly changing threat landscape and how even with the most advanced technology, it didn’t make organizations more secure because people still accidentally did bad things. Technology alone is never enough and can never adapt fast enough.

The average person has grown uncomfortably numb with this reality. Many feel powerless even despite our collective raised awareness and enhancements in every kind of protective software. From the cybersecurity professional to the individual customer-service rep, everyone wants to do better but do we know how?

Elevate Security reimagined how to do better

Does “Protect. Monitor. Secure,” sound familiar? It’s what thousands of other security companies do and say. Elevate has instead pursued a clear-eyed vision around people-powered security and the human behavioral aspects. They started with their first product, Hacker’s Mind and recently released the Elevate Platform which offers fitbit-like reporting on the people at a company’s security-readiness and how it all adds up. They had tremendous success with the approach at Salesforce, and now they’re building a full the platform that lets any company benefit from their industry-leading approach. Elevate knows people are a company’s first and last line of cybersecurity defense, and it makes a real difference in an organization’s security posture.

Building their company the smart way

Security is a really crowded market, so it really takes an exceptional team and idea to break out. Robert Fly and Masha Sedova, the founders, met as security executives at Salesforce where the two of them honed their approach. They are razor sharp, recognized experts, and deeply thoughtful.

I’ve worked with them since we invested at the Seed Stage when they were a great idea and a PowerPoint presentation, and wow, how the company has grown! Beyond great early success with customers like Autodesk and ExxonMobil, they care deeply about the kind of company they are building and the team who grows with it. They have been smart, effective, and diverse since day one, and their impressive results-to-date speak for themselves. It’s exactly the kind of company I couldn’t be happier to join the board of: building great products, creating a great team, and shaping an important market.

It’s also why I’m excited to announce Costanoa’s enthusiastic participation in Elevate’s $8M Series A raise, led by our friends at boutique VC Defy Partners. Elevate believes in and fuels hope so every company can fight the bigger fight — and have every person get better at battling cybersecurity ourselves.

Congratulations, Team Elevate!


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