23. Shape Security

Software to boost cybersecurity

(left to right) Sumit Agarwal, Justin Call and Derek Smith, co-founders of Shape Security
Source: Shape Security
(left to right) Sumit Agarwal, Justin Call and Derek Smith, co-founders of Shape Security

Founders: Sumit Agarwal, Justin Call, Derek Smith (CEO)
Date launched:
Funding: $66 million
Industries disrupted: Cybersecurity, Software, Tech Hardware
Disrupting: Intel (McAfee), NQ Mobile, Symantec
Competition: Crowdstrike, Defense.net, Invincea

Most measures to protect against cybersecurity threats today are reactive in nature. The threat has to be analyzed, identified as malicious and ultimately blocked. Shape Security is attempting to change that formula by allowing companies to be more proactive. Instead of a company's website scanning a near infinite amount of inbound traffic looking to block threats, as is the case with most existing solutions today, Shape's technology, based on the concept of polymorphism, continually transforms the underlying DNA of a website. This means that Shape can preserve the functionality of code while transforming how it is expressed, making it harder for bad guys to hack into a website.

The user experience for legitimate visitors remains the same, but automated scripts, botnets and malware can't attack the site. Companies that require top-notch site security, such as e-commerce vendors and health-care providers, are just two of the industries the company is looking to convert.


Co-founders Derek Smith, Sumit Agarwal and Justin Call each bring years of experience in the cybersecurity field. Smith was co-founder and Call was vice president of engineering at data-loss prevention firm Oakley Networks, which was sold to Raytheon in 2008. Agarwal was deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon, as well as a former mobile project manager at Google. Investors include Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins.

Who do you dream of putting out of business?

"We want to put organized cybercrime out of business. The organizations who profit off your personal data are not just basement hackers but sophisticated organized crime rings and nonstate actors that cause real harm to real people." -Derek Smith, co-founder and CEO


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