Jun 3, 2022 - Business

JupiterOne is North Carolina's newest unicorn startup

A man stands for a portrait in front of a green background.

Erkang Zheng, CEO and founder of JupiterOne. Photo: Courtesy of JupiterOne

JupiterOne, a cybersecurity startup based in Morrisville, is the Triangle's newest unicorn — a term used to describe startups valued north of $1 billion — after it raised $70 million from investors this week.

  • The company's investors include Tribe Capital, Intel Capital, and Cisco Investments, among others.

Why it matters: The Triangle's startup scene has grown rapidly over the past decade thanks to venture capital money, giving startups like Epic Gams and Pendo billion-dollar valuations and helping them hire hundreds locally.

  • Four years ago, JupiterOne did not exist. Now it employs 150 people and is valued at more than a billion dollars after raising $119 million in the past two years.
  • "We want to be the next Pendo, the next Epic Games," Erkang Zheng, founder of JupiterOne, told Axios. "We want to be a strong force in the RTP area because I've been here for the past 22 years, and I'm really proud to see the startup scene heating up."

Yes, but: Venture capital money has become harder to come by in recent months as tech stocks have gotten hammered, as interest rates and inflation rise. Companies from Facebook to Cameo have freezed their hiring plans or laid off employees, Axios' Scott Rosenberg reported.

  • JupiterOne's latest funding raise — as well as Epic Games' monstrous $2 billion haul in April — shows that the Triangle's tech scene is still attracting investors.
  • Zheng said it's definitely harder to raise money right now, but it wasn't actively looking to raise funds. Instead, investors came to it — a fact that he said speaks to the strength of the startup’s business.

Details: Founded by Zheng, an N.C. State grad and former IBM employees, JupiterOne has already amassed an impressive list of customers.

  • Its client list includes big names like Cisco, Robinhood and Reddit.
  • JupiterOne's software helps companies monitor their digital security across a variety of different cloud computing platforms, servers and apps.

What's next: JupiterOne has hired 100 people in the past year alone.

  • While most of the employees are based at its headquarters in Morrisville, the company is remote first. But it is actively looking for more office space in the Triangle to accommodate its growth.
  • Zheng said the company could hit 300 employees in the next two years.

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