Xage (pronounced Zage) is a startup working to keep critical infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines, water supplies and electrical networks up and running safely. Today, the company announced a $ 30 million Series B series.
Piva led the round with the participation of Momenta, Valor Equity Partners and OurCrowd, along with existing investors March Capital, City Light Capital, Saints Capital and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures. The startup said it has raised $ 54 million to date.
Xage uses a lot of complex technology to help keep critical infrastructure secure. Industrial infrastructure tends to be older and relies on rather fragile security. Xage was designed to be a modern layer on top of what the company refers to as a fabric, said CEO Duncan Greatwood.
“The fabric is a network of software nodes that overlay the operation to provide granular control of any digital interaction. It provides zero-trust protection that spans operations, IT and the cloud, supporting both cybersecurity and digital transformation,” he said.
The solution uses digital ledger technology organized in nodes on a blockchain to limit the impact of an attack so that gaining control of one or two nodes would not compromise the entire network. But the company did not just jump on the blockchain bandwagon with the growing popularity of web3 in 2021. It has used this technology as a way to control access to the site since its earliest days.
“The distributed ledger is still an important part of our software stack. It’s part of how we achieve this single fault point in the Xage fabric that is so important in protecting these vulnerable operating situations,” Greatwood told me.
Over the past year, he said, companies are starting to find a solution like Xage, driven by the rise of ransomware attacks and growing government regulations around critical infrastructure. This was also driven home by the attack last year on a water supply in Florida.
These factors, coupled with an increase in its partner network, fueled a large increase in interest in Xage, and it drove the need to seek additional funding to increase staffing. “Even with the right partners that we have now, we still need staff to help support this whole rollout and the work we are doing, both in bringing the customers forward and also the implementations,” he said.
Today, the company has over 40 employees, a number that he said is rising week by week. Greatwood expects to be close to 90 or more by the end of 2022. He said that from the earliest days, diversity and inclusion have been top of mind for the company. While it’s easy to look at the obvious places like MIT and Stanford for new employees, he said the key is to look beyond this pool to find hidden gems.
“What we found is that we find superstars and people with superstar potential with much less obvious backgrounds from their resumes, and we laugh at them and help them fulfill their potential. Very often, frankly, that’s the key to finding the right ones. recruits who come from all sorts of different backgrounds and situations, ”he said.
The second key is to create a welcoming culture, and he said he and his team are working consciously to create a collaborative, collaborative and accommodating workplace.
“We spend time with the team talking about how we work together, and it goes beyond just today’s task-oriented work, making sure everyone is included and supported as they develop at Xage. The first step is to recruit a diverse workforce, and the second step is to enable the diverse workforce to succeed, ”he said.
The company intends to take a hybrid approach to work when they enter 2022, with some people in the office and some wholly or partly remote, depending on their needs, but he believes some work requires people to sometimes be together in the same room to build software this complex.