Panther Labs: Security in the age of cyberwars passes through Athens
By Endeavor Greece Nov 15, 2021
Imagine a cyber attack that would allow hackers to gain access to your credit card information or the infinite personal data held by Facebook or Google. Worse, imagine a ransomware attack on a hospital that leads to the death of its patients, or a scenario where hackers manage to break into the systems of an entire city and shut down infrastructures such as water or electricity. This is the form of war today, explains Jack Naglieri, founder and CEO of Panther Labs. In the age of the cloud, war is being transferred from the battlefields to computers.
That’s why Panther Labs, a San Francisco-based startup that also maintains a team of engineers in Athens, helps business security teams detect and prevent such cyberattacks.
From Yahoo and Airbnb
Jack Naglieri himself has been involved in security since 2012, when he worked for one of the biggest names in Silicon Valley at the time, Yahoo, as he told Outliers, the Endeavor Greece podcast with media partner MoneyReview. Since then, his job has been to build systems that collect data and then try to figure out if someone is breaking those systems.
After 3.5 years at Yahoo, the Italian-American Naglieri was transferred to Airbnb, where the idea for a security system for cloud-era companies was born.
This is how Streamalert software was created, which was open source. But when Naglieri saw the names that used it and accepted the approach of an investor, he decided to make his vision come true from a young age, that is, to build his own company.
The “Greek blood” of Panther
Panther Labs was founded in August 2018 and one of its first hires was Costas Papageorgiou, a Greek engineer who had spent many years at Amazon and managed to impress Naglieri.
K. Papageorgiou played an important role in the creation of Panther Labs technology and through his own network, the company made other recruitments in Greece. Naglieri emphasizes that his company found amazing talents in Athens, and since the startup operates on a “remote first” basis, this allows it to build various teams in places far from its headquarters in San Francisco. Somehow, the first 1-2 hires in Athens evolved into a group of 10 people, with Naglieri stating that the company’s presence in Greece could be expanded. First of all, he seems to be looking for a leader who will understand the local culture and allow the Panther team in Athens to grow even more.
Its first difficult steps
Panther Labs has raised $ 20 million in funding, but Jack Naglieri admits that the first steps were not easy at all.
The company made its technology open source in January 2020, acquired its first users, and in June of the same year had its first customer. It was the time when the pandemic struck, where Naglieri admitted that he underwent a very scary time. He had thrown away everything he had in the company, not knowing if it would survive, he says.
It is indicative through the fact that when he started to raise seed funding, he received 18 negative responses. He had begun to believe that he would not be able to find investors and that Panther Labs would “die”. However, when the first “yes” came, more followed, with the result that in 2019 it raised $ 4.5 million. In Series A round, Naglieri did not even seek to raise funds, he explained. His conversations with investors simply led to the raising of funding.
As for what makes an entrepreneur outlier? Jack Naglieri believes that it is the “why”. That is, the motivation for which a businessman does what he does