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From idea to acquired in 3 years: How Insight IGNITE helped fuel Laminar’s skyrocketing success

Insight Partners | December 20, 2023| 2 min. read
Amit Shaked Laminar

Cloud security startup Laminar was founded in 2020 by four-time Google Capture the Flag champions – the Wimbledon of cybersecurity – and lifelong friends Amit Shaked and Oran Avraham. They saw an opportunity to deliver agentless and asynchronous data security and leakage protection for everything you build and run in the cloud. Within three years of its founding, the business was acquired by data security leader Rubrik.

The right time, the right opportunity, the right connections

Emmet B. Keeffe III is the founder of Insight IGNITE — Insight’s network for enterprise tech executives and software founders to connect, learn from each other, and power growth. He immediately saw the potential in Laminar’s founders and their mission: to democratize data in a fast-paced cloud world and turn data security teams into true business enablers. And it was just the right time. As COVID-19 emerged in 2020, companies needed to go digital overnight, migrating work to public clouds – and exposing themselves to new risks at the same time.

The market timing was right, and there were two sharp founders with the expertise and vision to tackle the problem – to build an iconic data security company. They just needed the right support to hone their product architecture and go-to-market strategy.

Tapping into a qualified network of advisors

Partnering with IGNITE in October 2020, Shaked and Avraham met with more than a dozen enterprise executives hand-picked by Keeffe and the IGNITE team, including CIOs, CISOs, and chief data officers from Global 2000 companies. Over the course of 100+ meetings and weekly alignment calls, they articulated the problem Laminar was trying to solve, nailed down the company’s product architecture, and identified the ideal buyer. Laminar also leveraged IGNITE’s curated network of CXOs-in-residence to gather feedback on product and messaging workshops. Going one step further, IGNITE helped Laminar increase brand awareness through webinars, virtual roundtables, and curated introductions at industry events.

So much of early-stage work is trial and error, but this process allowed the founders to tap the insights and connections of an experienced network, avoiding common pitfalls and accelerating the development of their product and strategy. Based on feedback, Shaked and Avraham completely rewrote the technology, adjusted their pitch and presentation, and refined their market strategy to target CISOs as the key buyers.

Hitting the ground running

This process allowed the company to hit the ground running when it emerged out of stealth in late 2021, launching with a $37M Series A led by Insight to secure public cloud assets. Laminar’s technology was tested by hundreds of CISOs during the program, helping Shaked and Avraham pinpoint and meet their ideal customer needs. Laminar was the only product of its kind that allowed data protection teams to classify sensitive data continuously for complete visibility, improving risk posture, and detecting leaks in real-time – all with minimal impact on performance or data flow. And as a measure of their success, a portion of those early testers became customers when the company’s product launched commercially in 2022.

The momentum and early pipeline created by this accelerated development process created huge value, even though the revenue wasn’t quite there yet. Gartner recognized Laminar as category leaders in their industry. And just six months after its initial Series A, Laminar doubled its funding, extending the round with an additional $30M, led by Tiger Global Management and Salesforce Ventures.

Working in consultation for a successful exit

In early 2023, several potential buyers approached Laminar, including notable players in the data space including Microsoft-backed zero trust data security company Rubrik. The interest showed just how hot the data security posture management market had become, with multiple competitors entering the market around the same time. It also proved how well Laminar’s product fit the evolving cybersecurity market and the emerging gap in proactive security posture. Shaked and Avraham sought IGNITE’s feedback to help the founders evaluate ‌potential acquirers. They wanted to find the right home for the company – where their vision of creating a comprehensive cybersecurity offering that combined cyber recovery and cyber posture – could be realized. Rubrik’s native data security and recovery expertise made it the ideal choice.

“Insight IGNITE provides us with unprecedented access to CIOs, CISOs and CDOs to share our vision and solution with some of the largest companies in the world. This level of access dramatically accelerated our messaging and product strategy learning curve and led to many pipeline opportunities as well. This has been a game-changing partnership for us,​” Shaked says.

With Shaked and Avraham’s hunger to learn and speed of execution, coupled with their advisors’ mentorship and IGNITE’s continuous support, Laminar saved years in development and time-to-market. The collaboration catalyzed a quicker refinement of the product, market strategy, and successful market entry – a testament to the critical role an engaged investor partnership can play in clearing the hurdles early in the startup journey, validating strategies, and accelerating a founding team’s path to success.