Sequoia came looking for Skyhigh and it only took 10 days to land the $20 million, cofounder and CEO Rajiv Gupta told Business Insider.
One reason investors were so eager is that Skyhigh solves a really hard problem for enterprises. It helps IT professionals identify "shadow IT" cloud apps that employees are using without the company's knowledge.
Shadow IT can be really dangerous for companies, leading a company to leak sensitive information, or violate government regulations.
Some 500 new cloud services come online every day, Gupta says, and it's become impossible for enterprise IT professionals to know how many of them employees are using at work. Or what they are doing with them.
He tells the tale of one Skyhigh customer who discovered a random Internet IP address that was pumping out a million tweets a day. The company, a large financial services firm, had a corporate Twitter account but it had only sent about 10,000 tweets ever. Skyhigh discovered that the Twitter address was a zombie bot planted by a hacker. It was using Twitter to send out sensitive corporate data.
"This was data being leaked out from the organization 140 characters at a time," Gupta says.
Another time Skyhigh found an employee who was abusing Salesforce.com, sharing customer data with a competitor. That competitor kept undercutting the company's bids and the company was baffled until they discovered the cause.
Most companies have hundreds of shadow IT cloud apps doing goodness-knows-what right under their nose, Gupta says. "The pace of innovation in the cloud is so rapid, IT can't keep up."
He's so confident that this is true that he's got an unusual challenge for every company: If Skyhigh can't find 30 cloud apps the IT person didn't know about in 30 minutes, Skyhigh will buy that IT person a Netflix account for 30 months.
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