Hacking with Valor: Why We Raised $36.4M with Valor Equity Partners

Sep 8 2019
Mårten Mickos

Our civilization is going digital. That’s fantastic. Unfortunately our software is not secure enough to carry a digital and connected civilization. When systems get breached, people can’t trust the digital world. In a way, we are trying to do too much. Our innovation is outpacing security and privacy. Something must be done. 

Fortunately, something is already being done. The best thing we can do for our planet is hack it. 

Hackers are constantly roaming the internet in search of vulnerabilities. A frightening thought at first, this turns out to be the solution to our problems. Half a million computer-savvy people are stepping up as whitehats to hack our digital systems. Hackers hack so that fixers can fix. When hackers surface vulnerabilities, these vulns can be fixed before criminal elements exploit them.

This is what HackerOne is about. We marshal hackers who help make your systems more secure. The 500,000 hackers in our network have found over 130,000 vulnerabilities for companies and government agencies worldwide. To reward the hackers for their findings, we have paid out over $65,000,000 in bounties. By the end of next year, it will be over $100,000,000.

Ethical hacking has become a movement of planetary proportions, larger and greater than all criminal hacking activities combined. The HackerOne platform is the world’s largest community of ethical hackers, representing the power of over 40 quadrillion neurons of curiosity and creativity. We have the most massive database of found and fixed vulnerabilities. But we are not even close to done yet.

When HackerOne first started, the founders had one goal: to empower the world to build a safer internet. In an early testament to their success, the Department of Defense handpicked HackerOne to run their “Hack the Pentagon” program. HackerOne went from zero to $20 million in subscription revenue in just three short years. And from there it continued. 

Hackers, once viewed negatively as societal outcasts, are now making companies more secure. A model that was innovated by progressive companies in Silicon Valley and Seattle is now mainstream. Today, there isn’t a corporation or government agency that would deny the efficacy of hacker-powered security. A common text in cybersecurity frameworks and recommendations is “The organization has processes established to receive, analyze and respond to vulnerabilities disclosed to the organization from internal and external sources.” Corporations such as Goldman Sachs, General Motors, Equifax, Hyatt, IBM, AT&T, Verizon, Intel, Qualcomm and many more have decided that hacking is good.

From modest beginnings, we now have a company with 250 employees and 1,500 customers. Our business growth has outpaced the market. As a result we have been approached by numerous investment firms eager to provide us with growth capital. 

After thoughtful vetting and consideration, we found an investor with a vision and worldview that aligns with hackers and HackerOne. We share a passion for making the world a better place through disruptive innovation. HackerOne is delighted to invite Valor Equity Partners to lead our latest round of funding. With their backing, we can continue to hack for good and to help secure the digital world. Our company has now raised a total of $110 million, with half of that as dry powder ready to be used where the opportunity is the greatest.

We are excited about our growing ambitions. We have built a massive hacker community and provided paths of advancement for the most talented and committed hackers. We will further refine this model and provide even better opportunities for hackers to learn, be challenged, and do good, with great rewards for great accomplishments. Increasingly, we are seeing pentesters and other security research experts sign up at HackerOne. They know that the best challenges are found in bug bounty programs -- and customers know that the best hackers are found in our network.

We are innovating around important second-order benefits of vulnerability disclosure. For some time already, we have been building a data infrastructure and data science team. When you put data scientists and vulnerability experts in the same room with the world’s largest database of useful vulnerability information, you can extract valuable and actionable insights and intelligence. These innovations will make it into our program offerings and perhaps also result in entirely new services.

Thirdly, we are growing globally. We have a strong presence in the US, UK, Netherlands and Singapore, and employees in many other countries. Cyber risk is a global problem, and the solution is global too. It is imperative that HackerOne be a global organization and player. We are a highly diverse organization, and over time, we will establish new offices in regions with eager customers, great hackers, or both.

This is the HackerOne commitment: As long as our digital world is plagued by vulnerabilities, we will continue to hack for the good of our connected society. Hacking is good and we are hackers for good. We encourage you to find the hacker within yourself. Together and only together can we solve the challenges of our digital civilization.

Hack the Planet!

Marten Mickos
CEO, HackerOne

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