Smallstep raises $26 million to focus on creating products critical to infrastructure security

Smallstep announced that it has raised $26 million in total funding including a seed round of $7M led by boldstart ventures with participation from Accel Partners, Bain Capital Ventures and Upside Partnership, and a Series A of $19 million led by StepStone Group with participation from existing investors.

Smallstep funding

The funding will be used to expand Smallstep’s focus on creating products for practical zero trust by investing in their open source community, and accelerating research and development to bring new features and expertise to securing infrastructure.

Founded by Mike Malone, Smallstep focuses on automated certificate management, a critical foundation for DevOps’ teams to establish practical zero trust. The company has spent the past several years building a strong open source community with millions of downloads and hundreds of independent contributions from developers around the world. Smallstep’s mission is to enable companies to secure their entire infrastructure by identifying everything and everyone, issuing credentials, encrypting data and communications, and driving a strong security policy.

“Smallstep is a passionate team making products and tools critical to infrastructure security,” said Hunter Somerville, general partner, StepStone Group. “Our investment in this team and their products was an easy decision to make.”

“Our world is powered by a complex tangle of software and, since the early days of Smallstep, we’ve been focused on the fundamental problem of keeping it all secure,” said Malone, founder and CEO, Smallstep. “Certificates have been quietly providing an identity dialtone to the web for decades, but their utility extends beyond that use case. Certificate management is a Practical Zero Trust technology that every non-trivial system should have. This funding will enable us to bring automated certificate management to everyone. We’re fortunate to have an amazing group of investors who understand the need for this important core infrastructure and I’m excited to partner with them on this mission.”

Smallstep is backed by an experienced team from leading developer-first companies including Sauce Labs, Minted, Kenna Security (Cisco), Let’s Encrypt (Internet Security Research Group), Pivotal and Dell EMC. Each member of the team at Smallstep has experienced the pain of certificate management in Kubernetes, Docker, cloud native, on-premise, and more – and seeks to bring production identity to every environment.

“When we initially met with Mike, it was clear he was on a mission and we knew we wanted to partner with him immediately,” said Eliot Durbin, general partner, boldstart ventures. “Mike is a proven leader and innovator in the distributed systems space, and we look forward to working with the Smallstep leadership team as they build an exceptional company and massive category.”

“The rapid rise of microservices and containers is eroding traditional network perimeter-based security. Certificates provide a source of truth for machine and production identity, but are tough to use at scale in modern architectures,” said Enrique Salem, partner at Bain Capital Ventures. “Smallstep makes the power of certificates easy to access, helping developers secure the services and containers that create their application fabric.”

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