IoT remediation vendor Viakoo with 100% channel strategy raises $10 million in Series A funding round

While many companies exist in the IoT discovery market, to find devices vendors didn’t know they have and shut down the risky ones. Viakoo ‘s focus is on detecting if the devices are insecure, and fixing them if they are.

Mountain View, CA-based Viakoo has announced that it has secured $10 million in Series A funding led by Shasta Ventures, joining existing investors Stanley Black & Decker, PivotNorth Capital, and BlueFog Capital. The new funding will go to  investment in product development and go-to-market, as well as to expansion of  executive leadership, The company is also launching its Viakoo Action Platform suite of cyber modules for remediation and repatriation of IoT devices.

Viakoo, whose name comes from two separate terms which combined means ‘listening intently to get understanding,’ was founded in 2013, and first brought product to market in 2015.

“Our initial products were focused on service assurance, which got us into large organizations working in IoT,” said John Gallagher, VP of Marketing at Viakoo. “They told us that the bigger issue for them was cyberhygiene – like keeping patches up to date.  Three years ago, we introduced firmware capabilities. Two years ago, we brought in certificate management and then a password checker. So, while we still sell our assurance products, our focus is now on our cyberhygiene products, which are an outgrowth of the requests of customers that we were working with. These are larger organizations who have protected the servers they have deployed, but who have struggled to extend this protection to IoT.”

While IoT discovery vendors like Nozomi Networks and Armis are well established in that space, Gallagher said that vulnerability remediation is newer.

“There are lots of good tools to detect, particularly as traditional IT has moved into IoT, and there are lots of companies in that part,” he indicated.  “They help companies who deploy IoT devices, and detection often finds they have 3x or 4x as many devices as they thought. Customers have been told to block vulnerable IoT devices from the network. But they are there for a reason. Blocking them all shuts off their business value. We are telling the market not to stop their benefits, which can be mission-critical, and instead to remediate the vulnerability rather than turn off the device.”

Viakoo detects if the security on IoT devices isn’t working, and fixes it when required.

“There are also some other companies now in this part of the market, but we believe we have a more comprehensive solution,” Gallagher said. “We patented an approach which allows global visibility and localized action. We also handle things, like certifications, that some competitors do not.”

Gallagher also emphasized that Viakoo also differentiates between categories of devices with an application-based approach.

“We view IoT has having loosely coupled and tightly coupled IoT devices,” he said.  “FitBits would be loosely coupled IoT devices because they don’t work together. On the other hand, in a physical security environment with multiple devices like cameras, intruder alerts, and intrusion detection, the devices are tightly coupled. We treat those two types very differently.”

Viakoo uses sharding and other data base techniques to scale – and there is basically no limit to the scalability. They are hosted in AWS and Azure, and about 20% of customers use an on-prem version of the product.

Viakoo sells exclusively through over 50 channel partners.

“We don’t determine pricing – our partners do,” Gallagher said. “Virtually all of our customers work with integrators of some type, so they are natural partners for us. We also have a Platinum tier of partners who OEM us as well, such as  Stanley Black&Decker and Konica Minolta Business Systems.

Like basically all early funding round companies, Viakoo said they will put the money into R&D and Go-to-Market, but Viakoo says they will use some for a long overdue expansion of the executive roster.

“We have been lean and mean and our executive team has been even more so, Gallagher said. “Our CPO is also our CISO, CTO and runs Product Management. We are at a point where we need a CFO, we need an HR function, and we need to expand geographically. We might uplevel some existing positions as well.”