Announcing KEC Ventures’ Investment in Virgil Security℠, Inc.

I am excited to announce that KEC Ventures led Virgil Security’s $4.0 Million Series A round. Virgil, founded in May, 2014, is based in Manassas, Virginia.

Virgil Security provides easy-to-deploy and easy-to-use cryptographic software and services for use by software developers in organizations of all sizes in any industry. If your product is connected to the Internet and involves software, Virgil Security can make it more secure! Virgil’s open source cryptographic libraries and accompanying cloud-based public key management infrastructure completely eliminate the pain of developing, deploying, and using strong cryptography.

Virgil Security delivers a new generation of enhanced privacy and security for mobile and desktop applications, cloud services, the Internet of Things and connected devices. With Virgil, software developers incorporate enhanced security into their products, with just a few lines of code, in minutes. Virgil makes the rest happen. If you are a developer check out Virgil’s API and SDK documentation here.

There are at least 4 instances in which Virgil Security’s cryptographic building blocks are useful.

First, where developers wish to implement easy-to-deploy and easy-to-use password-free authentication that works – especially for mobile apps.

Second, where developers wish to implement easy-to-deploy and easy-to-use end-to-end encryption for data at rest, or in transit.

Third, where developers wish to implement cryptographic verification functions to guarantee data authenticity (the data is unchanged) and data provenance (the data is from whom it claims to be from). This enables developers to cryptographically sign hardware and software products with very little hassle.

Fourth, Virgil Security provides a common API across numerous platforms and languages, for products ranging from; low power distributed sensor networks without an operating system, to a variety of connected devices on embedded Linux platforms, to mobile clients (on Android and iOS), to Linux, MacOS, and Windows laptops and desktops, all the way up to big data and machine learning applications in the cloud.

Our conversation with Virgil’s founders, Michael W. Wellman and Dmitry Dain, began when I heard Michael say “Software developers are not applied cryptologists and applied cryptologists are not software developers.” I was at the Mach37 Cybersecurity Accelerator Demo Day in Herndon, VA in June. Michael was updating the audience about Virgil’s progress since Virgil graduated from Mach37 a year earlier.

That statement caught my attention because, less than two months earlier, Jeff Citron and I had been discussing an internal research project that was built on exactly that premise. Michael and I talked about where he and Dmitry are taking Virgil, and I promised to follow up with him that evening.

I roped in the rest of the KEC Ventures team rather quickly after that; Michael and Dmitry spoke with Jeff Citron and me a few days later. They stopped by our office in NYC a week after I had met Michael in Herndon, VA, and then they had a few more calls during subsequent weeks with other members of our team with whom they had not yet spoken. A month after I had first met Michael, I made another trip to VA for technical due diligence and to spend time getting to know him and Dmitry better. Subsequently, Michael collaborated with Jeffrey Parkinson to iron out the details of our investment.

Michael and Dmitry embody the characteristics of the kind of co-founder teams that excite me. They have spent their entire careers building software and hardware products to meet exacting standards in the communications and networking markets. Michael’s fingerprints are found in early versions of some of the branded hardware and wireless products we commonly use today as well as in early versions of commercial Internet software. Dmitry is a named inventor on 7 patents on encryption and wireless radio transmission. They have known one another for nearly 2 decades – Michael hired Dmitry at Lucent Technologies when Dmitry was still a teenager. If you meet them, you’ve got to ask Dmitry what being Lucent’s youngest employee was like – I guarantee you’ll have a laugh-fest – at his expense of course. Each has served as a principal investigator on DARPA projects.

Additionally, they are engineers who understand the importance of sales. To date, they have functioned as Virgil’s sales team. That gives them a firm grasp of the issues their current and prospective customers are grappling with and what that means in terms of how Virgil prioritizes the rollout of its product features.

They possess a rare blend of experience in network engineering, software engineering, engineering management, and engineering R&D that is keenly focused on shipping products to customers.  As a result, in addition to Virgil Security’s previously announced relationships with Soraa, Twilio (NYSE:TWLO), and Wave Mobile Communications, more than 175 organizations are already building more than 250 products that incorporate Virgil Security’s technologies.

KEC Ventures is joined in this round by institutional investors Bloomberg Beta, Blu Venture Investors, Charge Ventures, NextGen Venture Partners, Sparkland Capital, and Working Lab Capital.

Notable individual investors include famed cybersecurity investor Ray Rothrock, and Matt Grimm, until recently with Mithril Capital Management, along with members of Baltimore Angels, Dingman Center Angels, and Panther Angels.

KEC Ventures’ investment in Virgil Security marries our team’s ongoing interest in 2 broad themes; Asset Management, and Interconnectivity. With the vast majority of the information about the world’s valuable assets already stored digitally, security will be an ongoing problem as the world becomes even more highly connected.

We could not be more excited to “roll up our sleeves and work shoulder-to-shoulder” with Michael and Dmitry and the rest of the team at Virgil Security to grow Virgil into a company that transforms and improves the way large enterprises, tiny startups, and companies of all sizes in-between, deploy and implement cryptography.

Yes. “Roll up our sleeves and work shoulder-to-shoulder with . . . ” sounds like a blatant exaggeration coming from a VC, but you get the point; We are excited to support Virgil as the team continues pursuing its ambitious goal of making every software developer into an applied cryptologist while delivering an application security layer for the entirety of the Internet.

You can read a press release announcing Virgil Security’s $4m A round raise here.

Read how Michael and Dmitry discuss Virgil’s mission at Introducing Virgil Security.

Here is what other’s have said about Virgil Security in the past;

  1. Observer – Even Secure Websites Do Their Own Spying
  2. Techcrunch – Adding End-To-End Encrypted Messaging To Your App Just Got A Lot Easier
  3. Twilio Blog – Introducing End-To-End Encryption For Twilio IP Messaging With Virgil Security and Dmitry’s presentation at Twilio’s Signal Conference.

About Virgil Security

Virgil Security, Inc. makes every software developer a cryptographic expert. With Virgil Security’s platform, every developer can build cryptographic features, including end-to-end encryption, passwordless authentication, and cryptographic verification of data, devices, and identities, into their products, with no cryptographic training, often in just minutes. Virgil Security is a graduate of the Mach37 Cybersecurity Accelerator and was selected as a 2016 TiE50 Top Startup and a 2016 Red Herring Top 100 North America. Founded in 2014, Virgil Security is headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, with offices in Kiev, Ukraine.
To learn more about Virgil Security, please visit VirgilSecurity.com and follow the company on GitHub, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Update: November 21, 2016 at 10:08 with 4 use cases.

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