BugCrowd's $15m fund win shows Oz infosec can score Series B: CEO

Don't sit on your ideas, bug chief urges hackers

Bugcrowd chief executive officer Casey Ellis says its recent win of $15m in Series B investment is a signal that Australian startups can score big.

The funding round is led by Blackbird Ventures with participants Rally Ventures, Costanoa Venture Capital and Paladin Capital Group, along with Industry Ventures and Salesforce Ventures.

The company, forged in Sydney and matured in San Francisco, has secured high profile customers under its crowdsourced bug bounty model where some 27,000 hackers compete to find and report bugs in customer networks in exchange for cash and fame.

It lists Fitbit, Motorola, Tesla, and TripAdvisor among its clients while "top-tier" customers running private bug bounties remain unnamed.

The latest funding is part of some US$24m raised in total since it received its first push in Startmate, Sydney.

Bugcrowd chief executive officer Casey Ellis told Vulture South it proves Aussie security startups can score financial backing for the right idea.

"It is one of the largest investment rounds for an Australian company," Ellis says.

"There are a bunch of really smart guys in Australia and they need to know that this (Series B investment) is possible."

Startup investor Alan Jones says the Bugcrowd was one of many Ellis had pitched over beers and laksa in Sydney during 2012.

"I don't remember how many laksas before he pitched the idea behind Bugcrowd but it was immediately clear he was on to something," Jones says.

"It's not that long ago we were all complaining about how Australia's VC industry was too small to lead a Series B round.

"While raising capital isn't the end goal, it's usually necessary to scale faster than your competitors, prove out your model and provide services customers love." ®

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