Menlo Security Raises $10.5 Million to End Malware Threat

The stealthy startup has some big promises and a big-name investor to back it up.


Malware infections continue to infest the modern Internet, and there is no shortage of vendors, or money, trying to solve the problem. One of the newest entrants in the battle against malware is startup Menlo Security, which announced its Series A funding round on Nov. 18.

Menlo Security has raised $10.5 million in a funding round that was led by General Catalyst Partners and also involved the participation of Osage University Partners. Steve Herrod, managing director at General Catalyst Partners, will now join the Menlo Security board of directors. Herrod is well-known in the IT industry for the years he spent at VMware as its CTO. In a recent interview with eWEEK, Herrod, who has been at General Catalyst Partners since February 2013, detailed his investment focus and why security is a key area of interest for him.

The goal of Menlo Security is to reinvent cyber-security, Amir Ben-Efraim, the company's co-founder and CEO, told eWEEK. That said, Ben-Efraim declined to provide full details on how his company's technology works as it is still in stealth mode and the full platform won't be revealed until 2015. However, Ben-Efraim did provide some direction and context for where Menlo Security will fit into the cyber-security landscape.

Prior to founding Menlo Security, Ben-Efraim had been the founder and CEO at virtualization security vendor Altor Networks, which Juniper Networks acquired for $95 million in December 2010. It was through his experience at Altor that Ben-Efraim said he first got to know Herrod, who led the Series A investment round for Menlo Security.

"The problem with malware today is that no matter how much security is thrown at it, it continues to evade even the latest security technologies," Ben-Efraim said. "The reason for that is because all the industry has been trying to do is to detect if something is good or if it is bad."

In Ben-Efraim's view, the premise of trying to figure out what is good and what is bad is fundamentally flawed. The goal at Menlo Security is to bring together intelligent people with security virtualization and cloud technology to help solve the problem, he said.

The idea of using security virtualization to improve security instead of worrying specifically about detecting potential malware is not an entirely new one. Security vendor Bromium since 2011 has been talking about its technology that offers the promise of virtualization to lock down an operating system and limit the risk of any potential malware issue.

"Bromium is in the category of companies that are doing interesting new things, and they are taking a new approach to the problem," Ben-Efraim said. "It's just a different way of looking at the problem."

Menlo Security is aiming at the enterprise market and today has a number of private beta engagements as the company works toward emerging from stealth mode in 2015, he said.

"This is a very sizable market opportunity, and I think that people are hungry for something that works," Ben-Efraim said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.