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38. Synack

Who the IRS and DoD use against hackers

Founders: Jay Kaplan (CEO), Mark Kuhr
Launched: 2013
Funding: $55 million
Valuation: N/A
Disrupting: Penetration testing, automated tools
Rival: IBM

George Kavallines

This cybersecurity company — started by two former National Security Agency colleagues — combines man and machine when it comes to battling hackers. Synack uses software security tools, along with a network of highly skilled ethical hackers — so-called white-hat hackers — to help keep its clients' networks secure. Founders Jay Kaplan, CEO, and Mark Kuhr, CTO, specialized in counterterrorism at the NSA before starting Synack in 2013. In their former lives, they saw that the defensive tactics that most companies were using simply weren't working. The hacking headlines made in recent years by Sony, Target and Ashley Madison, among others, was further proof that a new approach was needed.

Read More FULL LIST: 2017 DISRUPTOR 50

Synack offers companies penetration testing that enables them to find vulnerabilities in their networks that hackers can exploit. When necessary, the company will send in their Red Team — the ethical network of hackers they've vetted and use all over the world — to see where else a client may be vulnerable. With that information in hand, Synack can come up with a plan to eliminate those vulnerabilities.

The company has about 100 employees plus the network of hackers. It will likely be adding more since raising $21.3 million in April from Microsoft Ventures, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, and Singtel Innov8, bringing its total equity raised to $55 million. With enterprise customers desperate for security solutions that work, Synack is clearly in a growing market. The company claims it has been doubling revenue every year and currently has about 100 business clients.

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