When a market is emerging quickly, nothing matters more than execution. You don't have time to mishire or waffle on strategy. So when the real-time cloud data security market emerged as companies moved from on-prem to the cloud and data stores proliferated, Dan Benjamin and Dig Security won. Through clarity of vision and fierce work ethic, they built a business Palo Alto Networks recognized was essential to the future of cybersecurity.
Today, Palo Alto Networks closed its acquisition of Dig Security a year after SignalFire led Dig’s Series A.
It’s been exciting to support Dig through its rapid growth. There are several big reasons why Dig succeeded that other founders can learn from:
Rapid execution requires confidence – and that comes from experience. Dan deeply understands his customers because he'd already spent years solving their problems. After his stint in the Israeli Defense Force's elite 8200 cybersecurity division, he was the lead PM and strategist for Microsoft Azure Cloud, then the CTO of Google Cloud For Startups. His co-founders Gad Akuka and Ido Azran are both high-horsepower repeat founders too. The result was that Dig outpaced competitors by building and selling faster than anyone else.
Instead of immediately passing off sales responsibilities to his team, Dan would spend over a third of his time selling. They say first-time founders focus on product, but second-timers know that it's distribution that makes or breaks companies. As a repeat founder and operator who worked for the largest cloud providers themselves, Dan applied his deep empathy for customers to win over the flagship businesses that attracted others and gave Dig its momentum.
Being "laser-focused on your own businesses" is a myopic and dangerous cliche. Dan realized that Dig's true competitors weren't the incumbent on-prem security giants being disrupted, but newer cloud-native security posture providers. By sprinting to get to parity with them with a repeatable process for integrations into a wide range of data stores, Dig could then leapfrog them with real-time detection and response.
Bridging the wedge and the vision
Customers need to both believe in where you're going and feel a burning need for what you offer today. Startups are inherently resource-constrained, so you have to expect it will take time to build the full suite and meanwhile prioritize what can deliver value immediately. Dig convinced customers and analysts that it could solve their visibility needs now while becoming future-proof because they wouldn't need a separate real-time response tool later.
Putting investors to work
At SignalFire, we want to be the most helpful VC on your cap table, so we love how Dan challenged his investors to earn their keep. We put our home-brewed AI, network, and in-house experts to work across every function of the company. Our Beacon AI and recruiters helped source key hires, while our team assisted with Dig's compensation planning and executive development. Our team provided sales lead lists compiled by our AI, advised on public relations, and set up events for Dig to meet customers
Throughout their journey, Dig could rely on the experience of accomplished security experts including SignalFire Board Partner and Exabeam founder Nir Polak, SignalFire XIR and Tenable co-founder Jack Huffard, and early investor Team8 for guidance. By skillfully harnessing the support of their allies, Dan and his team propelled Dig’s growth.
With Dig solving the data visibility, detection, and response problems, SignalFire is next looking for cybersecurity startups proactively preventing the data sprawl issue that created the need for Dig in the first place. That could include tools for generating synthetic data, stronger access governance, or innovative new ways to keep proliferation in check.
They say great companies are bought, not sold. Dig’s relentless drive and experienced team made the company a must-have for Palo Alto Networks less than two years after its launch. Congratulations to the entire team on this milestone as they protect the future of enterprise.