The company declined to comment on the valuation, but co-founder and CEO Rami Essaid was willing to discuss some of the other details. For one thing, he said that Foundry Group “shot us down” twice over the past couple of years before Distil’s growth convinced the firm to lead the Series A (along with Techstars’ Bullet Time Ventures).
Essaid also said that he’d set out initially to raise $7 million, and even when raising a $10 million round had to turn some VCs down. So why go with Foundry? Was it all those previous “no”s? Actually, according to Essaid, it was because the firm shared Distil’s vision.
“Some of the VCs that we talked to were focused on how we make more money doing the same thing,” he said. “Foundry looked beyond what we’re doing today and asked, how do we become a bigger, more holistic security company?”
Right now, that means building a comprehensive solution to battle online bots, rather than focusing on the individual problems that bots can cause. For example, Essaid said that when Distil works with an e-commerce company, it tackles click fraud (which would mean the company is paying for useless ad clicks), price scraping, and more: “What we try to do is bring everybody to the table. That makes the sales process harder, but it also makes [the product] stickier.”
Distil says it works with customers ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies and has blocked 9 billion “bad bots,” with revenue growing 20 percent month over month.
As part of the funding, Ryan McInTyre of Foundry Group and David Cohen of Bullet Time and Techstars (where Distil was incubated) are joining the company’s board of directors. This suggests that Cohen was successful in his fundraising efforts for Bullet Time, which, according to a regulatory filing, was aiming for a $150 million third fund. ff Venture Capital, IDEA Fund Partners and Militello Capital also participated.
Much of the new money will go towards marketing and sales, Essaid said. Presumably that encompasses a lot more than promotional robot boxing matches at South by Southwest, but Essaid did promise, “We will get much better robots next year.”