“This is chess, not checkers.” One of Denzel Washington’s epic quotes from the movie Training Day. It’s a constant reminder to see the big picture, anticipate your opponent’s next move, continually innovate, and think outside the box. Chess is a game of strategy and tactics. And at the end of the day, as we all have seen too clearly, when it comes to cybersecurity there is no room for error because the stakes are simply too high. People’s finances, reputations and as we all bore witness to firsthand, even nations’ fates are tied to how seriously we take cybersecurity. It’s not simply chess — it’s a game of multi-dimensional chess.
Today, I’m proud to announce the next move in our strategy in up-leveling our cybersecurity game. We’re thrilled to have received a $15M strategic investment led by Hasso Plattner Ventures, the venture firm of SAP co-founder and chairman Hasso Plattner. HP-Ventures is joined by our existing investors Battery Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, Clear Ventures, Amplify Partners, Capital One Ventures and Leslie Ventures. And in other big moves, we are welcoming Chris Rust, founder and general partner of Clear Ventures, to our board of directors.
To be clear, we’ve decided to take this investment even though we weren’t out looking to raise capital. Rather, we are at a nexus where raising additional and focused investment makes strategic and compelling sense: within one year from now, cybersecurity will undergo yet another tectonic shift.
As many of you already know, the European Union is instituting a sweeping and underlying shift in its fundamental cybersecurity and regulatory regime with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These regulations will require the introduction and enforcement of very specific guidelines as to how individuals’ data is handled and processed, and most importantly, protected. The regulations within the GDPR are unprecedented in both their scope and their complexity. And these rules do not simply apply to businesses within the EU, their scope is worldwide and require any company regardless of location doing business with the EU to abide by. The penalty for non-compliance can be as much as EUR 20 Million or 4% of worldwide revenue. That represents serious risk for companies in the US and abroad, and represents a clear and compelling opportunity for VERA to make a huge and positive impact to cybersecurity across the globe. This is exactly the opportunity that Hasso Plattner Ventures and the rest of our investors saw, and this is exactly why we decided to take this infusion of capital.
VERA is uniquely qualified to enable companies worldwide to both comply with and prove their compliance and adherence to the specific articles of the GDPR by fully automating data security, encryption, and control. Moreover, no other solution can provide the 360-degree audit trail and chain of custody necessary to meet the privacy by design and privacy by default standards set forth in the GDPR.
To elevate our customers’ compliance game and flip the industry’s conventional data security wisdom requires experience, vision, and a mastery of the chessboard. It’s not an easy feat, especially without guidance from a true leader. This is why I am equally as excited to welcome Chris Rust of Clear Ventures to our board. A Grand Master in the valley, Chris spent 14 years as an early stage technology investor at Sequoia Capital and U.S. Venture Partners. As an active member of our board, he will help guide the company towards our mission to become the trusted standard for securing and sharing business information. Clear makes very selective investments and I am beyond thrilled that he has chosen to bring that experience to the team at VERA as a vital member of our board of directors.
At Vera, we’re building a profoundly different approach to data security, privacy, rights management, and enterprise data control, with a solution that’s both frictionless in its end-user design and impenetrable to attackers. I refuse to believe that we’ve met our match. I refuse to believe that we can’t prevent leaks like the CIA dump last month or we can’t protect against rogue employees stealing critical IP when they leave.
I believe that the game of chess is not about fighting over every piece or individual maneuver. It is about strategic accomplishments that guarantee the vision of a lasting crown. With our board’s guidance and our valuable customers, we have the drive, the focus, and the strategy to take the king.