Photo: Flickr/Fortune Live Media
EMC has bought one of the Valley’s hottest up-and-coming security startups, Silver Tail Systems, for an undisclosed sum.The purchase is interesting for a bunch of reasons. Silver Tail was the brainchild of two former eBay execs: Laura Mather, a Ph.D. who’s one of the world’s experts on Internet fraud, and Mike Eynon, who led antifraud efforts at eBay and PayPal.
We recently named Mather to our list of the 25 Powerful Women Engineers In Tech.
Mather and Eynon took their antifraud know-how and built a product that let other websites protect themselves in similar ways.
Silver Tail quickly became the poster child for a new concept at the intersection of big data and security. It detects Web fraud by watching clicks on websites and noticing weird behaviour. It’s been popular with banks and online retailers because it helps stop cybercrime iin real-time. It can monitor upwards of 330,000 clicks per second.
Silver Tail attracted $22 million in funding, including a $20 million round in June 2011, led by Andreessen Horowitz partner Scott Weiss. In just 18 months after delivering a working product, Silver Tail grew like a “tornado,” Weiss said on a blog post about the acquisition.
It nabbed nearly two-thirds of the top US banks as customers. It grabbed execs from the ranks of Cisco (Nick Edwards, a marketing exec); Juniper (engineer Paul Gacek); and Phoenix Technologies (Eric Newman, in charge of European expansion). Silver Tail was “cash-flow positive in the first half of [its] 2012 fiscal year, ” Weiss said.
This purchase says a lot about EMC, too. EMC is known for its computer storage (and for good reason, it’s one of the world’s biggest vendors in that area). But since 2010, the company has acquired its way to become a security powerhouse, making such buys as RSA Security, Authentica and a bunch of other startups including, earlier this year, Silicium Security.
It’s looking to use its $5.45 billion stash of cash buy more security startups, COO David Goulden told Dina Bass at Bloomberg in August.
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