COLUMBUS (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — A Columbus cybersecurity startup that looks for hackers’ backdoors into internet of things devices has raised $30 million in venture capital from investors including a top customer.

Finite State Inc. has now raised a cumulative $49.5 million since Battelle veteran Matt Wyckhouse founded it.

Energize Ventures led the Series B, joined by Schneider Electric Ventures and Merlin Ventures.

“Finite State is a category-defining company securing critical infrastructure in the energy and industrial spaces by delivering clear visibility into security gaps throughout the supply chain,” Juan Muldoon, partner at Energize, said in a news release.

Customer Schneider Electric, the French energy company, made the introduction to Chicago-based Energize, Wyckhouse said in a statement. Schneider is a limited partner of Energize’s fund, and also invested directly in Finite State through its California-based VC arm. Merlin Ventures is the investing arm of Merlin Cyber, a cybersecurity firm.

Finite State’s software automates the process of uncovering risks in connected dispersed devices, each of which are powered by software in embedded microchips. Several utilities signed seven-figure contracts last year to help protect their electric grids from intruders. Other customers include oil and gas companies, healthcare businesses and others in critical infrastructure industries.

The company is using the funding toward quickly expanding its presence in the IoT market, which is projected to top $1.4 trillion in the next six years. It’s hiring in engineering, security expertise and sales and marketing.

“The Energize and Schneider teams have unique insight on the market demand, where our solutions fit, and how we can better help the energy sector lock down their device security,” Wyckhouse said in the release. “The value proposition goes far beyond their capital investment.”

Finite State had projected tenfold growth after raising a $12.5 million Series A round in May 2020. This latest round adds it to the list of Drive Capital LLC portfolio companies having a breakout 2021.

The company added three cybersecurity veterans as executives this summer:

  • Eric Greenwald, joining as general counsel, was previously senior director for cybersecurity on the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, and before that with the FBI.
  • Mark Hodgson, executive vice president of marketing, has more than three decades of experience with companies including Hewlett-Packard Co., Symantec, Charles Schwab and WhiteHat Security.
  • Jeff Martin, vice president of product, most recently was assistant vice president of product development at WhiteSource Software.

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