Waterloo Region’s burgeoning cybersecurity cluster continues to grow with the launch of a new startup, Cavelo Inc., led by local veterans in the field.

The Kitchener-based company unveiled itself today with an announcement of CDN$1.3 million in pre-seed financing led by MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund and participation from angel investors.

The Cavelo platform helps businesses discover, classify, track and manage sensitive data in alignment with industry and regulatory reporting requirements, the company said in a news release.

“It’s impossible for businesses to protect the data they don’t know about,” said CEO James Mignacca, who worked for Sandvine and eSentire before starting his own companies. “Data protection starts with discovering the data you have, yet many businesses lack the resources needed to manage the high volumes of data that their servers, cloud applications and endpoint devices gather.”

As concern grows over the protection of sensitive information, regulatory agencies are requiring organizations to ensure they have appropriate measures in place to protect end-user data. Examples include the General Data Protection Regulation, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and the Payment Card Industry Data Security.

“Businesses must be able to demonstrate that they know what data they have and how they're protecting it, otherwise they face very real and very large fines,” Mignacca told Communitech News. “The (Cavelo) platform ticks the compliance checkbox, but more importantly it gives businesses peace of mind that they have a complete data inventory for regulatory audits.”

Mignacca is a serial entrepreneur with experience in the network and cybersecurity sectors of the Waterloo Region tech ecosystem. After working with Sandvine and eSentire, Mignacca founded Root Cellar Technologies in 2013. He sold the data management business in 2018 and soon after launched RootSecure Corp., which provided cyber risk-assessment of networks and devices.

In January 2019, RootSecure was acquired by Arctic Wolf Networks, a unicorn with a sizable facility and deep roots in Waterloo Region. Co-founded in 2012 by Kim Tremblay, a University of Waterloo math and computer science graduate, Arctic Wolf provides security operations center (SOC) services to clients.

Mignacca said the flourishing cybersecurity cluster in Waterloo Region has provided him with the experience and connections to advance his most recent data-management ventures, but he was quick to add that “Waterloo Region is a great spot to start any technology company.

“The region has become a powerhouse in terms of its talent and leaders who have paved paths to success and a strong support network for the startup community,” he said. “If I need something, I know I can call up many of the local founders and leaders. That's invaluable and, in my opinion, is what makes our technology community so great.”

By at least one estimate, Waterloo Region has become the fourth-most important cybersecurity cluster in the world after Israel, Silicon Valley and Boston. Scale-up companies like Arctic Wolf and eSentire continue to grow their facilities here, while startups such as Agilicus, Cavelo and others are being launched by a growing number of experienced cybersecurity professionals who’ve gained expertise at the larger companies or are serial entrepreneurs themselves.

Cavelo’s board of directors includes serial entrepreneur Marc Morin, a co-founder of PixStream, Sandvine and Auvik Networks, a fast-growing scale-up where he currently serves as CEO. Also on the Cavelo team is former Sandvine CFO Scott Hamilton, who is serving as both the CFO of Cavelo and as a board member. And Matt Koivisto, Vice-President of Software Engineering, has experience at eSentire, Arctic Wolf Networks and Sandvine.

Mignacca said Cavelo plans to use its CDN$1.3 million in pre-seed funding to support its go-to-market plan and continued product development.

“We're actively hiring engineers to continue building out the platform, and sales and marketing roles to execute against the sales and market plan to support North American customer acquisition,” he said, adding that he plans to have 15 employees in place within the next six months.