Aqua at Age Five: Recognized Market Leader and $1 Billion Company
Today we reached an important milestone in our 5-year history – in a single funding round we’ve more than doubled our venture funding to date and achieved a valuation of $1Bn, often referred to as “unicorn” status. While I’m thrilled to have reached this milestone with Aqua, it’s not the valuation itself that I’m proud of. Our achievements – product innovation, groundbreaking research, open source community investment, and most of all adoption of our solutions by hundreds of enterprise customers – brought us to this point, and the valuation is merely a reflection of our market leadership, vision, and track record.
We are currently in an unprecedented booming market for tech startups, and valuations are higher than ever. But unlike some companies whose valuations are based on hype and unfulfilled promises with very little track record, Aqua’s valuation is based on solid fundamentals, consistent growth year on year for five years, and an impressive customer installed base that includes many of the world’s largest organizations and largest cloud native production deployments. Our 400-strong enterprise customer roster today includes:
- 20% of the Fortune 500
- Five of the world’s ten largest banks
- Many among the top five organizations in each of the aerospace, media, financial services, hospitality, pharmaceutical, energy, software, retail, travel, food, and government sectors.
Aqua’s leadership extends to a unique and unmatched contribution to the open source community – not only do we protect the development supply chain against vulnerable open source code, but we are also a very active player in the open source community itself, providing many leading tools as open source such as the widely-used Trivy and Kube-bench. In practical terms, we are the biggest provider of open source security tools in the cloud native community.
"Aqua has attained unicorn status, but it’s not the valuation itself that I’m proud of – it is merely a reflection of our market leadership, vision, and track record."
Why do customers choose Aqua?
Aqua’s focus on the cloud native technology stack and ecosystem is what gives us our advantage. We’ve grown our platform mostly organically, and in the small acquisitions we made we took care to fully integrate those products into our platform. Unlike the patchwork of some competitors, we provide a consistent and unified user experience, with unique contextual insights that are not available when you have a suite instead of a platform.
Our in-house expertise across the research, open source, engineering, presales and customer success teams is another winning factor. This space is very dynamic, with ever-expanding choices customers can make on the cloud services they use, their orchestration platforms, CI/CD tooling, and more. These choices have implications on security, and Aqua has been providing customers with the freedom to choose different stacks and clouds while enjoying consistent security visibility and enforcement. Even midsized companies these days are hybrid or multi-cloud, and taming this complexity is paramount.
"Aqua’s focus on the cloud native technology stack and ecosystem is what gives us our advantage, providing our customers with the freedom to choose different stacks and clouds while enjoying consistent security visibility and enforcement."
Scalability has become a deciding factor in purchasing security solutions for cloud native applications, as more and more workloads are moving to containers and serverless. Many solutions work well in the lab, but can they scale to protect production environments that span thousands of nodes in a single environment? Aqua’s efforts in this area have paid off and we now protect some of the largest deployments out there, protecting mission-critical applications.
An additional factor has been Aqua’s unparalleled ability to protect applications in runtime, going well beyond “shift left”, and providing real-time defense in addition to visibility and compliance. Ultimately, a security solution is measured in its ability to stop attacks when they happen. During the past 18 months, our researchers have observed and reported a sharp rise in targeted attacks on Kubernetes and on the container supply chain. This is an inevitable consequence of the popularity of these technologies – broader adoption makes them more attractive to malicious actors. In this market, simply providing visibility or “best practice” configuration is necessary but not sufficient. Aqua is the only solution that can intercept such attempts across the entire lifecycle, and swiftly act to stop them with precision and without causing unnecessary downtime.
Where do we go from here?
Five years ago, we had the vision to launch a platform for what was then dubbed “Docker containers”, applying new rules to secure applications across their entire lifecycle (and Aqua was the first to come out with full lifecycle security, a term now very commonly used by others). Our vision evolved as the market changed, but we’ve always stayed ahead of the curve, anticipating customer needs and opening an innovation gap from our competitors. Innovations like Aqua Dynamic Threat Analysis and vShield have made us the technology leader in this space, and we have ambitious plans to continue this innovation and open an even wider gap from our competitors.
I’ve stated repeatedly and publicly many times – we are in this for the long run. We set our sites on the big prize of dominating the category and we’re steadfast in our efforts to achieve this. Becoming a “unicorn” is not and has not been an objective on its own. It’s an important milestone on our way to an IPO, which we aim to achieve in two years. But most importantly, we will continue to innovate and give our customers the best security solution to drive their ongoing cloud transformation.