Santa Barbara Cybersecurity Startups Are Having a Moment

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

Santa Barbara Cybersecurity Startups Are Having a Moment

Two cybersecurity startups that call Santa Barbara home have announced sizable Series B funding rounds.

Theta Lake, which makes security software for companies that use Zoom, Slack and similar tools to communicate, unveiled a $50 million Series B led by Boston-based Battery Ventures on Tuesday. Other noteworthy names—including Silicon Valley-based Lightspeed Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures, Zoom and Cisco Investments—also chipped in on the round, which takes Theta Lake’s total funding raised to $70 million.


In a statement, the company said the new funding is “validation that the workplace has become increasingly digital since the COVID-19 pandemic, and organizations need new tools to stay compliant and avoid damaging, outside cyber threats.”

Meanwhile, MixMode, which uses artificial intelligence to detect cyberattacks, announced its own $45 million Series B led by Boston-based private equity firm PSG on Wednesday. Santa Barbara-based early-stage VC firm Entrada Ventures also participated in the deal.

MixMode CEO John Keister turned to a baseball metaphor to describe his firm’s AI-driven role in an evolving cybersecurity environment. “We are in the first inning of a transformation from rules-based security programs to true self-learning security programs,” he said.

Both cybersecurity companies said they would use their respective funding rounds to expand the scope of their technology. The deals reflect how Series B rounds have ballooned in size recently, hitting an average of $45 million in the U.S. last year—up nearly 50% from 2020, according to Crunchbase.

Santa Barbara has established itself as a cybersecurity hotbed of sorts: Other online security firms to have sprouted in the city include Archore, Novacoast and Lastline, which was acquired by Palo Alto-based VMware in 2020.

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