Wallarm, a Russian cybersecurity startup, has been selected to take part in Y Combinator, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent seed accelerator programmes. The accelerator is investing $120,000 in the startup.
The IT company, which uses machine learning to identify malicious requests received by web applications, will now attend an intensive three-month programme in Silicon Valley described by Fortune magazine as “a spawning ground for emerging tech giants.”
Three quarters of the Wallarm team pictured at Y Combinator in Mountain View, California. Photo: Wallarm.
“Taking part in Y Combinator is a new page in our story, a chance to develop rapidly on the biggest market in the world, as well as the best mark of quality for a product,” Stepan Ilin, co-founder of Wallarm, told Sk.ru.
“Y Combinator is not very well known in Russia, but it’s the most famous incubator in the U.S. Internet giants like Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe and many other prominent companies like Docker and Reddit are all graduates of the incubator. It’s a great honour to become part of this family,” he added.
Wallarm, a resident of Skolkovo’s IT cluster, combines the functions of a firewall and vulnerability scanner to protect web applications. It already lists the major Russian search engine Yandex among its clients, as well as online retailer Yulmart and several banks and payment systems. It is also a partner of the web server NGINX, which is used by about 40 percent of the world’s top 1,000 websites.
“In addition to having a great team, Wallarm is especially impressive because it is integrated right into NGINX, making it incredibly simple to deploy,” said Dalton Caldwell, a partner at Y Combinator, in an article published on one of the accelerator’s websites, The Macro.
“Their current customers like Yandex, with huge amounts of traffic, is testament to how compelling and battle-tested this product is,” he added.
In March this year, Wallarm was awarded a mini-grant of 5 million rubles ($76,000) from the Skolkovo Foundation to develop its product after winning the foundation’s iSecurity competition. In 2013, it raised $500,000 in investment from Runa Capital, a tech-focused venture capital company with offices in Moscow and San Francisco.
Y Combinator, which provides seed funding and mentoring to IT startups in exchange for 7 percent equity, is one of the biggest business accelerators in the U.S. Taking part in the programme can help companies attract investment from major U.S. venture funds.
“Working with international accelerators and expert centres is an important step in creating a global company, a leader in its field,” said Sergei Khodakov, head of cybersecurity within the Skolkovo Foundation’s IT cluster.
“The Y Combinator programme is one of the most successful acceleration programs in the U.S., and has produced many successful IT companies. Taking part in it should certainly be vital to Wallarm’s development and to the creation of its international business,” he added.