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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Xage, a company that aims to secure operational components of the electrical grid, announced Wednesday it has raised $30 million in a Series B round of financing.

Why it matters: There is increased interest in improving the security of the grid's operational assets following a year that featured escalating cyberattacks, including the shutdown of a major oil pipeline.

The big picture: New federal regulations put in place are also encouraging companies to take a closer look at hardening more than just software.

  • Xage's products employ a zero-trust architecture, which prevents a user from roaming freely throughout a network by constantly rechecking their credentials.
  • This differs from more traditional ways of securing power plants and pipelines, which rests on perimeter security, such as firewalls, to keep bad actors out, Xage CEO Duncan Greatwood told Axios in an interview.
  • "The way that they've tended to work is there's a big lock on the door. So you kind of have to know the combination of that lock to get inside," he said.

Yes, but: This approach has huge drawbacks. "If you get through that big door, you know that every door after that is unlocked," Greatwood said. "You can access anything you want from there."

Details: Xage currently has 45 employees and counts the U.S. Space Force, Air Force, Saudi Aramco and ComEd among its customers.

  • The company sees renewables, including securing grid balancing data and energy storage units, as a growth area.
  • The Series B is led by Piva, a San Francisco-based VC firm investing in solving industrial challenges. Momenta, Valor Equity Partners, Our Crowd, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures and others also participated.

Go deeper

Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks has dropped plans to require that U.S. workers get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing, the company announced Tuesday in a memo to employees.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

2 hours ago - World

Netanyahu plea talks enter crunch time

Netanyahu (right) meets with his lawyer ahead of a court hearing last February. Photo: Reuven Casto/Pool/AFP via Getty

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's opposition leader and former prime minister, is negotiating a possible plea deal over the corruption charges against him, but Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit appears to be toughening his terms.

Why it matters: Mandelblit leaves office on Jan. 31. Negotiations could continue beyond that point, but the next attorney general may be less interested in quickly reaching a deal.

3 hours ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.