Six months after coming out of stealth, this guy's startup is worth $1 billion

Illumio CEO Andrew RubinIllumioIllumio CEO Andrew Rubin

The newest enterprise startup darling is a security company called Illumio, which fast-tracked its way to unicorn status a mere 6 months after coming out of stealth, and 27 months after it raised its first seed round.

Illumio today announced that it raised another $US100 million+ investment, for a total of over $US142 million to date.

And that makes it worth just over $US1 billion, according to data on the financing round shared with Business Insider by a company that tracks such things, PitchBook Data.

Investors had valued the company at about $US14 million in early February 2013, before it raised a seed fund of $US8 million, PitchBook tells us.

Investors were so stoked about Illumio that the company raised $US42.5 million before it even came out of stealth mode, and from a who’s who of investors including CEO Marc Benioff, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, Box’s CEO Aaron Levie, Andreessen Horowitz’s Ben Horowitz, Joe Lonsdale, Matthew Ocko of Data Collective and Steve Herrod, an early VMware employee turned VC for General Catalyst Partners.

Then John Thompson, Microsoft chairman, former CEO of Symantec and current CEO of Virtual Instruments, joined its board. The company also nabbed Alan Cohen to handle marketing. Cohen was a top marketing guy for Cisco, then joined Nicira right before it was bought by VMware for $US1.26 billion in 2012.

Illumio was founded by Andy Rubin (not the same guy that invented Android) and it does something called “application security.” That’s not a new thing, but it’s been a traditionally hard nut to crack. The idea involves watching the applications themselves to make sure they aren’t doing anything they are not supposed to do, indicating a hacker or a virus.

In contrast, most corporate security focuses on keeping intruders off the network, but if they can hack their way in, or get an insider to help, they often get free run of the data center, just like what happened in the embarrassing Sony hacks last year.

Illumio protects apps inside the data center. It places a tiny bit of code (called an agent) on every computer and operating system to watch all the apps. Companies can then install the software that watches the apps in their own data center, or they can hire Illumio’s cloud service to watch the apps for them.

And then the security follows the app where ever it goes, even if an app moves from one server to another, or from the data center to a cloud computing service.

Morgan Stanley was one of the first big public customers and Rubin tells us that the company has since landed big customers in every industry. It won’t name most of them, or tell us how many customers it has, but it now names Plantronics and NTT among them.

And it just announced a new partnership with F5 Networks to bake Illumio’s software into F5’s network equipment.

Rubin tells us that company employs about 100 people, has two international offices in Singapore and the UK and with the new round of investment will increase international expansion and double its R&D team.

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