Island adds $115 million for security-focused enterprise web browser

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Island, which offers a secure browser aimed at giving businesses greater control over their data, today announced a $115 million Series B funding round and a $1.3 billion valuation as the company seeks to accelerate the growth of its clientele. Since its stealth release with the Island browser in early February, the company has more than doubled its qualified pipeline of customers testing the technology with their workforce, co-founder and CEO Mike Fey told VentureBeat.

The browser offers an unprecedented level of control over data in software as a service (SaaS0 applications) and can also replace a number of other security products, according to the company.

The Island Browser offers several use cases for enterprise and midsize businesses, but the overall benefit is that “when you can validate and confirm that your data can’t leave a given SaaS or web application, the level of risk around that data just decreases,” Fey said in an interview.

Ultimately, “in order to defend against the next wave of incredibly advanced attacks, you need to reduce your attack surface,” he said.

Now, with strong early customer buy-in, Island says it has increased its B-series to ramp up its sales efforts and continue to develop new product capabilities. Insight Partners led the funding round, with additional support from Stripes and Sequoia Capital. The company says it has now raised a total of “over $200 million” since launching in mid-2020.

Block data threats

Founded by two former Symantec executives, Island leaked details about its Island Enterprise browser for the first time on February 1 as it exited stealth. The Island Browser is built on Chromium and looks very similar to Google’s Chrome Browser. The difference, according to the company, is the browser’s many built-in features for protection against data exfiltration and web threats.

In particular, web-accessible business applications can be protected against data leaks with the ability to control functions such as copying, pasting, downloading, and capturing sensitive information.

The idea is for companies to configure their core SaaS applications to be accessible only through the Island Browser. For example, a user trying to log into Salesforce in a typical browser could be redirected to the Island browser, he said, the same way you are directed to Zoom by clicking a meeting link.

In addition to data exfiltration prevention capabilities, Island Browser also provides web security measures such as built-in safe browsing, web filtering, exploit prevention, and web isolation.

Another key use case for the browser is to enable BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) – without the need for any other infrastructure – for contractors or employees.

cross-sectional appeal

Depending on the type of customer, some use cases resonate more than others, Fey said. For example, financial services firms focus on data protection, while tech firms focus primarily on BYOD and contractor access, he said.

“The policies and procedures adopted by financial services may be different from high tech, or may be different from retail,” Fey said. “And that allows us to be a very unique product per vertical, without having to actually build our product per vertical.”

In terms of customers, Island now has customers in “almost every major vertical,” with a focus on financial services, retail and technology, he said. However, regardless of the vertical of the island, there is a lot of interest in the product, he said.

“Eighty percent of the time when we brief a C-level executive, they end up getting us evaluated at their company,” Fey said. “I’ve never had anything like it.”

Island does not disclose the total number of customers it has at this time, nor the names of additional customers. The company previously revealed that specialty materials company Ashland Global Holdings was among its clients.

The startup says it’s also starting to see early indicators that its browser can actually help replace other security products, by reducing or eliminating reliance on data loss prevention (DLP), web filtering and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

“They simplify their environments by reducing the amount of other systems” they have to use, Fey said.

Fey was previously president of Symantec and chief technology officer at McAfee. He founded Island with CTO Dan Amiga, previously founder and CTO of Fireglass, which was acquired by Symantec.

Island is based in Dallas and operates its research and development in Tel Aviv, Israel. The startup has 120 employees, and expects to end the year with around 200 employees.

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