Businesses have benefited from the adoption of the Cloud for data storage and analytics, but it can also turn into an IT nightmare when it comes to managing who has security rights to access which data and under what circumstances. Whereas Fortune Business Insights estimates that the global market for data access control, which was valued at $10.31 billion in 2019, will increase to $20.02 billion by 2027.
The Boston, Massachusetts-based Immuta is one business that is helping to define the category. Immuta, a secure data access company founded in 2015 by an Iraqi war veteran named Matthew Carroll, positions itself as the market leader in secure data access, providing data teams with one universal platform to control access to analytical data sets in the Cloud.
“What you’re seeing in the market now is the catalog players are really maturing, and they’re starting to add a suite of features around governance,” said Matthew Carroll, Chief Executive Officer of Immuta. “So, quality control, observability and just traditional asset management around their data. What we are finding is that there’s a new gap in this space … data is the security flaw.”
Immuta to Puzzle out Data Security Nightmare
Immuta is a provider in cloud data access control, providing data engineering and operations teams one universal platform to control access to analytical data sets in the cloud. Only Immuta can automate access control for any data, on any cloud service, across all computer infrastructure. Data-driven organizations around the world rely on Immuta to speed time to data, safely share more data with more users, and mitigate the risk of data leaks and breaches.
The concept for Immuta first emerged when Carroll was a U.S. Army intelligence officer in Baghdad, responsible for managing streams of intelligence data. “Coming out of the US intelligence community, the problem the Cloud was solving for us wasn’t about rationalization and decreased total costs like it was for most businesses. It was about solving the problem of how do I share data more effectively. How do I get access to data faster? And that journey started with just throwing data into S3 buckets. And we wanted more users who had the technical capabilities to join that data together,” says Carroll.
And that led to the issue of securing data access rights for every data user, who may have varying levels of security authorization. Carroll started working on a solution because commanders on the battlefield frequently must choose between life and death when it comes to data access speed.
To address the issue, Carroll was given his first contract by the government. “And so we built the company. That led to them to say, ‘Hey, how would you do it?’ We said, ‘Well, you can stitch these 29 systems together to build a platform. And the security aspect was a big component of that, too. But how do you do it safely and securely? We realized that to provide secure access, you need a symbiotic relationship between legal, governance teams that own the data, and the consumers of that data. And so this concept of security is really the amalgamation of these three different departments working together. So, security is no longer just about protecting a third party adversary. Security is about privacy, contractual management. It’s about how do we make risky decisions. All of that encompasses this new concept of data security,” says Carroll.
It took a year to develop a commercially viable product that would provide data access control, allowing for the complexity of legal, contractual, and security obligations in one software platform, even though Carroll and his co-founders Steven Touw and Michael Schiller officially launched the business in 2015.
But since then, Immuta has experienced rapid growth over the past few years thanks to its strategy of developing native integrations with the biggest Cloud data platforms, including Snowflake, Databricks, AWS, Google, and Microsoft.
A Ground-Breaking Paradigm for Data Management and Security
“Data-driven companies are collecting data at an exponential rate in an attempt to better understand their customers and offer enhanced services; data is their biggest advantage, but it’s also their biggest risk. We de-risk the innovation process,” said Matthew Carroll. “Immuta makes it possible to translate information governance policies into a unified data platform that manages access, controls, and collaboration, all in one place. In order to be effective, teams need a single, unified platform that streamlines their data workflows from end to end.”
In the past, businesses created a large number of applications before integrating their business logic and security controls into each application. This outdated model is becoming more and more difficult to implement because modern applications need to access and share data quickly and globally, making data a security vulnerability, according to Carroll.
“In this paradigm, any user could potentially access any data,” he said. “There’s just too many data sources, too many users, and too many things that can go wrong. And to scale that is really hard.”
Immuta helps organizations discover their sensitive data, secure it by enforcing data policies, and monitor how data is accessed.
“They don’t have to rewrite any of their code, but we automatically enforce policy without them having to do anything,” Carroll explained . “Then we consistently audit that. I call that the separation of policy from platform.”
Immuta is attempting to ensure that it can automate the entire data access process with confidence and little risk as part of this new design paradigm, according to Carroll. This is crucial because so many industries require immediate access to their data and the ability to share it internationally while keeping it secure.
The 7-year Journey to Emerge As a Unicorn
$8 Million in Series A – Slowly Build Trust with Data Scientists
In February 2017, Immuta announced an $8 million Series A round led by Drive Capital with participation from Greycroft Partners and Conversion Capital. The round brings the company’s total funding to $9.5 million to date.
“The Immuta platform provides a governed and unified data foundation that is compatible with any tool a data scientist may want to use. Our customers trust us for our precise controls, and they depend on us to create secure, virtual data collaboration environments on demand.” said Steve Touw, CTO of Immuta at that time.
When asked Andy Jenks – a partner at Drive Capital why choose Immuta, he said “We invested in Immuta because their team and technology are bar none the best in the business. Immuta is solving one of the most acute problems that is stifling innovation at large, highly regulated enterprises. They have the teams, and the technology, but data access and usage regulations are holding back innovation,”.
$20 Million in Series B – Design Flawless Action Plan on Capturing Key Sectors
Immuta had raised $20 million to build and sell its data access platform optimized for artificial intelligence model development in regulated environments.
The Series B round brings the company’s total funding to $29.5 million as of 2018. The new funding round was led by DFJ Growth Management LLC, with participation from new investors Dell Technologies Capital and Citi Ventures Inc., along with existing investors Drive Capital LLC and Greycroft Partners LLC.
Following the company’s tremendous growth, that investment was made. Immuta’s customer revenue increased by more than 260 percent YoY in 2017, as it added new Global 1000 clients in the government, insurance, financial services, and healthcare sectors. To capitalize on the ongoing transition within international enterprises from legacy application-centric tools to AI-powered decision-making, the company recently launched its Global Partner Program.
“Immuta is uniquely positioned to provide leading enterprises with a platform to quickly operationalize their data for increased access, control and visibility to drive their machine learning and AI programs,” said Daniel Docter, Managing Director at Dell Technologies Capital. “This latest financing is a testament to Immuta’s leadership and their maniacal focus on supporting their enterprise clients.”
$40 Million in Series C – Resolve the Challenges of Global Data Privacy Regulations
Immuta had raised $40 million by June 2020 to maintain its dominance in the expanding market for automated data governance and privacy solutions. The Series C round was led by new investor Intel Capital, with participation from new investor Ten Eleven Ventures and existing investors DFJ Growth, Dell Technologies Capital, Greycroft, Drive Capital and Citi Ventures.
Immuta made significant platform upgrades over the previous year by integrating new privacy and security automation features that are intended to help organizations fully utilize cloud-based data analytics and data sharing, even for their most private data sets. By verticalizing the law with sector-specific solutions, this funding enabled Immuta to increase its market-leading footprint and quicken the development of its automated data governance platform.
“Immuta solves a pain point for customers by making it easier and faster to access and use data in a compliant, protected way,” said Mark Rostick, vice president and senior managing director, of Intel Capital. “As organizations need to do more with their data, while facing increasing global data privacy regulations, Immuta is filling an important gap by delivering a platform that automates privacy protection and governance. We’re thrilled to be investing with the Immuta team.”
$90 Million in Series D – Unwaveringly Strengthen Its Market Dominance
Immuta disclosed that it had received Series D funding in the amount of $90 million. The most recent investment brings the total amount raised to $169 million and comes less than a year after Immuta’s Series C investment.
The Series D funding round includes new investors Greenspring Associates, March Capital, NGP Capital, and Wipro Ventures, as well as participation from existing investors Ten Eleven Ventures, Intel Capital, DFJ Growth, Dell Technologies Capital, Citi Ventures, and Okta Ventures.
It used the investment to strengthen its market dominance, meet the growing demand for centralized, scalable access control across cloud data sets that are becoming more varied and dispersed across multiple compute platforms, and deepen strategic alliances within the cloud data ecosystem. The cloud data platforms to be integrated with Immuta’s platform are Amazon Redshift and Azure Synapse.
“We looked at other competition in the space and Immuta’s product and solutions are really at the top of the heap,” said Hunter Somerville, General Partner at Greenspring Associates. “From intelligent data discovery to data access and control, to integration with all the top cloud analytics services, Immuta’s platform is best-in-class. We also liked that Immuta prioritized the data architecture and engineering team, from an end-sales standpoint, which we didn’t see from other solutions in the space.”
“We invest in tomorrow’s winners,” said Jed Leidheiser, Partner at March Capital. “I look for companies that have tremendous customer satisfaction today, with architectures built for platform expansion, and an A+ team to execute. That’s Immuta. They have the ability to operate on any data source, any infrastructure, any cloud platform — and on top of that, their customer list is rapidly growing.”
$100 Million in Series E – Boost the Growth of Commercial Segment and International Market
On June 2022, Immuta announced that it closed a $100 million Series E round at a $1 billion valuation, bringing the company’s total funding to $267 million. Immuta experienced record growth in 2021, which included an increase in commercial annual recurring revenue (ARR) of more than 100%, a doubling of its customer base, and a continuation of its international expansion into EMEA and APJ. This new capital infusion builds on that growth.
NightDragon led the funding with participation from Snowflake Ventures as well as existing investors Dell Technologies Capital, DFJ Growth, IAG, Intel Capital, March Capital, StepStone, Ten Eleven Ventures and Wipro Ventures.
CEO Matthew Carroll stated that Immuta will use the investment to expand its sales, marketing, customer success, and support teams as well as to fund “key” acquisitions in the data monitoring market. It will also be used to support product development and R&D initiatives.
“As the threat landscape continues to escalate and cloud migration continues, we’re seeing increased global interest in the need for secure data access solutions,” said Dave DeWalt, Founder and Managing Director at NightDragon. “Immuta is the clear market leader in providing secure data access, providing data teams with one universal platform to control access to data at scale. Many of the world’s top data-driven organizations – Roche, Mercedes-Benz Group, IAG, and the U.S. Army – rely on Immuta every day to quickly, safely, and efficiently share more data with more users. We’re excited to be making this investment in such a critical part of the modern data stack.”
The Bottom Line
For the future of Immuta, Carroll concludes that “I want to be the ‘Cloudflare for data.’ I think as the internet continues to scale globally, a framework is necessary to provide data policy oversight. There are regulatory and contractual obligations to process that data, whether it’s on the device, whether it’s in a car, whether it’s at a telco center somewhere or in one of the big Clouds, organizations need a consistent manner to enforce policy everywhere. Immuta wants to be the software that makes those decisions possible for these companies,”