Anvilogic’s breakout moment: A founder’s tenacity pays off

After clearing early hurdles, cybersecurity startup Anvilogic announces a $45 million Series C.

04.17.2024 | By: Ashu Garg

A former boss of Karthik Kannan once compared him to water, saying he always found the fastest path around rocks. 

In 2019 Karthik saw a path around a longstanding cybersecurity problem—critical data being trapped inside on-prem security systems—which led him to found Anvilogic, a company that’s navigated plenty of boulders along the way.

 Anvilogic CEO Karthik Kannan at left, with Foundation Capital General Partner Ashu Garg, Anvilogic Co-founder and CTO Deb Banerjee, and Shirish Sathaye, a General Partner at Cervin Ventures.

The first boulder: sharpening his idea. Karthik sent me an email in 2019 with a brilliant insight about cybersecurity, but we both knew his concept for a company needed refining.  

Essentially, he saw that business analytics had moved to the cloud (think Looker or Tableau), and there was plenty of innovation in that space. But cybersecurity analytics hadn’t changed at all. 

A large enterprise company might have half a dozen Splunk-style SIEMs (Security Information and Event Management system) running, but those six systems couldn’t talk to each other—even within the same company. Karthik’s plan was to build a platform that breaks the SIEM “lock-in,” letting existing SIEMs talk to each other and helping detection engineers query and use information from any SIEM. 

Launching a company into Covid

Rounding up seed money (from Foundation Capital and others) was relatively easy. Sid Trivedi, Foundation Capital’s Partner who specializes in cybersecurity, and I knew Karthik was onto something. This was a critical problem in cybersecurity, and our research bore out a big potential for long-term savings. People were tired of being beholden to Splunk-style systems, which were simply too rigid and often had to be manipulated using proprietary query languages. 

But by the time Karthik and his co-founder Deb Banerjee were ready to test a beta product with clients, it was March 2020. Covid spread, and the world was unraveling. Offices closed, markets crashed. All three potential clients for Anvilogic canceled day-long workshops, and Karthik’s young company was back at square one.

They were really stuck. Though he could have used it, Karthik did not accept aid through PPP loans and opted for the high road. Karthik says: “I wrote a note to the bank saying, ‘I do not want this loan. Kindly evaluate other operations that may need this.’”

I wrote a note to the bank saying, ‘I do not want this loan. Kindly evaluate other operations that may need this.’

-Karthik Kannan

Anvilogic’s dozen employees doubled down. They kept the thread going with a handful of customers via Slack and Zoom, including PayPal, an introduction through Sid that became Anvilogic’s first customer.

We still had tough questions for Karthik. Who was the buyer for this product? Where were the stats supporting long-term savings?

“I got better and better after those conversations,” Karthik says of the early conversations with our team. “I had a better story, better slides.” 

In December 2020, Anvilogic finally landed a few customers, but not enough to raise a Series A. We brought him in to meet other Foundation partners. The team liked Karthik tremendously but was unsure if he would build the needed momentum, given the post-COVID environment. We had a hunch Karthik would find a way. Foundation offered Anvilogic a bridge loan, and then we set about helping him raise a Series A—tweaking the pitch deck, and working in the background with prime investors. 

Series B, SVB, and other headaches

In early 2022, Karthik and team set out to raise capital. But 28 days into a 30-day consideration period for their Series B, the deal fell apart. Karthik did not have a backup plan. His joke: “Plan B was to make Plan A work. I had to raise money.”

Foundation helped Karthik identify a syndicate of investors—including Outpost Ventures, Xerox Ventures, G Squared, Point72 Ventures, and Cervin Ventures—to catalyze a round of fundraising. It kept the company cranking until March 2023, when Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse left Anvilogic without access to funds for four long days. 

“It felt like four months,” says Karthik, who was in a crowd outside the Palo Alto branch of Silicon Valley Bank when regulators taped a notice to the door. 

While a few turns for Anvilogic were unlucky, many larger trends worked in the company’s favor. Data lakes, for example, have been on the rise for years (think Snowflake or Databricks). But that innovation was again happening largely outside of security. 

Anvilogic makes it possible to “bring your own data lake”— meaning the platform works with Snowflake, Splunk, legacy players, or any other system. 

“We’re still the only player that has a multi-data-platform SIEM,” Karthik says. “We made it possible.”

In fall 2023, Cisco announced it would acquire Splunk— another move that proved useful for Anvilogic, as potential customers who had been wavering finally picked up the phone. The acquisition had security teams accelerating their roadmaps to adopt more innovative security data lakes, while saving two-thirds of what they were paying for Splunk.

When Karthik and I chat now, he knows his company has hit a serious stride, and is ready to execute at the next level. 

From early fiascos to $45 million 

Today Anvilogic, the industry’s first multi-data platform SIEM, is closing its $45 million Series C investment, with participation from Foundation Capital. 

“We’re shattering the paradigm that the Splunks of the world created,” Karthik says.  

We’re shattering the paradigm that the Splunks of the world created.

-Karthik Kannan

Anvilogic’s 80 employees are in hyper-growth mode, quadrupling its growth since its series B with dozens of large enterprise customers.

We’re so thrilled for Karthik and know he will be ready for whatever comes next—including the curveballs.

“If I fall I’ll get up,” Karthik says. “I’ll find my way. I don’t need a path carved out.”

Published on 01.31.2023
Written by Foundation Capital

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