Our Investment in Distil Networks

by Ryan McIntyre

We are pleased to announce that we’ve co-led Distil Networks’ Series A financing, along with Techstars’ Bullet Time Ventures. Based in Arlington, VA, Distil Networks provides advanced bot detection and mitigation capabilities to its customers on public and private clouds.

The term “bot” refers to an automated software program that runs over the internet and accesses and interacts with websites. The most common example of a bot is a web crawler (also known as a spider), employed by search engines to index the web and enable online discovery. By and large, web crawlers are welcomed by website owners, as discoverability and searchability are crucial to their business.

However, there are many examples of unwanted or malicious bots, which can be employed to steal content, engage in advertising fraud, scan for security vulnerabilities, steal user data, or engage in denial of service attacks. The consequences of these bots’ activities range from relatively benign to criminal and destructive, and it is estimated that nearly a quarter of web traffic can be attributed to unwanted bot activity.

Numerous companies offer products that provide protection against DDoS attacks, which is just one facet of the larger bot prevention landscape. Distil approaches the bot prevention and mitigation problem more broadly, which allows the company to address a broad variety of customer pain points in the e-commerce, online data, advertising, and security domains. Any company that posts valuable data online, either for free or behind a paywall, is a potential customer of Distil Networks. Distil recently published a fascinating report on the bot landscape, available here.

Distil’s products are built upon their proprietary bot detection and mitigation technology which identifies bots via multiple approaches including unique fingerprinting technology that tracks bots regardless of their IP and machine learning techniques that get more intelligent with time. The tech is easily deployed in the cloud via DNS modification or within a site’s infrastructure via a physical or virtual appliance.

Distil fits nicely into our Glue and Protocol themes, and joins an exciting group of cloud infrastructure companies in our portfolio, including the likes of MongoLab, Pantheon, and SendGrid.

Distil Networks was founded in 2011 and participated in the 2012 Techstars Cloud program in San Antonio, Texas. We’ve been following the company closely since their graduation from the program, and are excited to join Distil’s founders Rami Essaid, Engin Akyol, Andrew Stein, and the rest of the Distil crew to help build Distil into a great success.