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Partnering with Tessian: Establishing Security at the Human Level

We are pleased to announce our investment in Tessian, a company that is taking a people-first approach to solving the cyber security challenge.

Sequoia partnered with Tessian in 2018 and in 2023 the company was acquired by Proofpoint.

In 2019, enterprises across the world will spend over $100B on cyber security products and services. This spend is focused primarily on protecting systems and machines (networks, endpoints, cloud deployments, applications, etc.) This approach to security is not working and cyber breaches continue to plague our digital world. As we have hardened our perimeters, attackers have evolved their approach and humans have become the critical security risk factor.

Today, we are pleased to announce our investment in Tessian, a company that is taking an antithetical approach to solving the cyber security challenge. Rather than focusing on machines and systems, Tessian focuses first on people. The company’s human-centric security platform protects people from committing security errors involving outbound and inbound communications, and over time will further extend where people interact with technology to protect both users and enterprises.

At Sequoia a key part of our due diligence on every company is to speak to customers. We’ve conducted thousands of references on hundreds of security companies, but never have we encountered one where end users are actively thanking their CISOs for rolling out the product. We heard countless stories of sensitive information and credentials that would have made their way into the wrong hands and attacks that were averted thanks to Tessian.

This human-centric vision is guided by three founders who were classmates at the Imperial College and left lucrative financial careers to start Tessian in a dingy apartment on the outskirts of London without outside funding. Tim Sadler, Ed Bishop and Tom Adams navigated their way to relevance and delighted their early customers in a region where venture capital for young enterprise companies is scarce. Such determination, passion and frugality are hallmarks of founders who have gone on to build some of the best companies with whom we have partnered.

We first met these founders several years ago when they were admitted to the CyLon incubator in London. We knew at the first meeting they were a high potential team, but our ability to help them from overseas at that early of a stage was limited. Since that first meeting they scaled their business, attracted funding from great partners at Accel Europe and Balderton and entered the US market. We were impressed to learn that along this journey they had never lost a single customer.

We are thrilled to welcome Tessian to the Sequoia family and are excited to partner with them and our co-investors Accel Europe and Balderton to build the next great security company.

This article was originally published by Matt Miller on Medium.

Tessian founders
Tessian Founders