Ray Rothrock had a successful career in venture capital for 25 years, as a General Partner at Venrock.
He was an active investor in Cyber Security. After retiring from Venture Capital, he now has taken the helm of ReedSeal, a 10-year old security company. This discussion focuses on network analytics within the Cyber Security space.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with introducing our audience to yourself as well as to RedSeal.
Ray Rothrock: I’m the CEO of RedSeal. I was also the original investor of the company in 2004. As a venture capitalist for 25 years, I’ve invested in over 15 cyber security companies. This is one of them. I retired from venture and a couple of years ago the company was flat-lining out. The Board got concerned and asked me to look at it. I’ve been here for the last 18 months. RedSeal is in an emerging space called security analytics. The company’s enterprise software technology addresses large organizations and their networks. We basically understand and model the network to give you full visualization and metrics.
One of the things that is not in the security industry today is metrics. How safe is it? What are the risk trade-offs? No one has infinite time, money, and engineers to fix problems, so you have to measure things in order to make good decisions. I’ve been investing in cyber security since the early 90s. My first investment was CheckPoint Software that is today worth about $15 billion. I’ve been around cyberspace a long time. I see RedSeal emerging into a new level if you will. Cyber security has finally come of age. It’s now in the Board room just as many things are over time.
Sramana Mitra: What is it about RedSeal that prompted you to come out of retirement and take the CEO job?
Ray Rothrock: What’s special here is the nature of the product. I have watched companies build networks over 30 years. These networks have been built by dozens of people. They involve hundreds of pieces of equipments. They span the globe. They’re loaded with all kinds of protocols and technologies. Most of which are old and forgotten. It’s a mess. Cyber is now a global issue. It’s a state issue. It’s not about some high school kid mocking around with your Facebook page. It’s about people stealing money, affecting economies, and affecting people’s lives.
You can’t repair anything unless you understand how it’s built in the first place. Our software models and gives you a crystal clear view of exactly how your network is built, how it’s operated, and where it’s weak and strong. Those are things that haven’t been a problem until now for most people. Most networks get along fine. Then, we had Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan, and Sony. There’s a problem here. Businesses are at risk because if businesses run on these networks and these networks are a mess, we sort it out for you. This is a chance for me to lead a company to make every company become more digitally resilient against attacks.
Sramana Mitra: What does the competitive landscape look like? It sounds like the company has been around for more than 10 years, and did the same thing for 10 years?
Ray Rothrock: Yes, we’ve been doing the same for 10 years. It’s often the case with venture capitalists, we invest in ideas and concepts that the market has not yet realized as needed. With the advent and evolution of cyber threats, RedSeal’s time is now. Up until now, it’s been nice-to-have. If you’re going to protect a large corporation or a government, you need to understand your network. Every organization is now a digital organization. It’s not just about email anymore.