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Exabeam CEO Michael DeCesare (L) and chairman and co-founder Nir Polak (R) pose in front of the Exabeam logo in Foster City, California in this undated handout photograph.

By Jane Lanhee Lee

While venture capital investment in cybersecurity has been rising fast over the years, it got an extra boost during the pandemic as remote work created extra challenges.

According to data firm PitchBook, venture funding in cybersecurity hit a record $10.2 billion in 2020 and as of late May 2021 had already reached $8 billion. A bulk of the funding is happening with U.S. startups.

(Venture Capital Deals in Cybersecurity – https://graphics.reuters.com/CYBERSECURITY-VENTURECAPITAL/EXABEAM/dgkplnmogpb/chart.png)

The number of applications like firewalls, identification verification and network security analysis that companies use are mushrooming, making it more and more difficult for them manage their cybersecurity.

“All of those things become blinking engine lights for a security operations center to have to contend with, and the volume of devices that’s coming on in the world…is only making that problem bigger and bigger,” said Michael DeCesare, who officially started as CEO of Exabeam on Tuesday.

“One of the biggest problems you have in security is the lack of talent. You don’t have enough people,” said Exabeam co-founder Nir Polak about why automation of cybersecurity was crucial at a time when the volume of hacking attacks is exploding.

The funding round was led by the Owl Rock division of Blue Owl Capital Inc, an asset management firm with over $52 billion under management. Pravin Vazirani, managing director of Blue Owl Capital, said while there were a lot of cybersecurity startups appearing, many of them were getting bought up by bigger players.

He said his strategy was to find a company that could become a large standalone business in the cybersecurity space.

(Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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