Newest Investment: Pwnie Express — Next Generation Wireless Security

At Ascent, we have been investing in IT security for decades. As technology platforms shift, security solutions must both shift with them as well as rise to meet a more severe threat landscape posed by today’s sophisticated cyber criminals and nation-state sponsored hackers.

As recent RSA conferences have shown, the challenge — and opportunity — posed by IT security has received massive interest and funding in recent times. While this makes all the sense in the world given the scope of the problem and the size of the opportunity, it does mean there exists a saturation of new vendors pursuing very similar goals simultaneously.

Yet, even with all the venture funding directed at IT security overall, we believe our newest investment, Pwnie Express, maintains a very unique position in the market. The massive proliferation of wirelessly connected devices inevitably increases the number of potential points of attack or data breaches dramatically. Existing solutions provide very limited or no visibility into which devices are within range and capable of connecting to a given network. Some companies do pay hefty fees for professional security consultants to travel to their offices periodically (once or twice per year) and to scan the environment for vulnerabilities, which may or may not include wireless. These are valuable reports, but they are a single point in time, and for a business with numerous locations, this can prove a very expensive and yet still intermittent approach.

Pwnie is unique in that it provides full and continuous visibility, meaning detection, identification and assessment, on both the wired and wireless networks via a combination of small rugged devices and a highly scalable SaaS platform. Security teams can see what is going on in real-time, all of the time, and can further analyze or assess questionable devices when they materialize. This level of visibility and insight is unparalleled today, and it is something we are betting many companies will need as both BYOD and the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to grow rapidly.

We are very excited to be working closely with the strong and expanding team at Pwnie, as well as our fellow co-investors .406 Ventures, Fairhaven Capital, Mass Mutual Ventures and VCET. For more information, please find the press release here.

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