ZeroWall founder Joan Pepin. (ZeroWall Photo)

Longtime cybersecurity leader Joan Pepin just raised $2 million for a new Portland, Ore.-based startup that aims to rethink how chief information security officers secure their companies.

Pepin left her job as chief security officer at Seattle-area startup Auth0 in September to launch ZeroWall. The stealthy company is staying quiet about its product but Pepin said it is taking a “different, holistic approach to information security.”

“We understand that a patchwork of vendors and point solutions have contributed to silos and inefficiencies in security teams and makes it difficult for security leaders to show value and ROI,” Pepin said. “These business realities along with the talent gap make taking a risk-based, common-sense and effective approach to information security in the current paradigm much harder than it should or needs to be.”

ZeroWall is initially targeting small and medium-sized tech or tech-enabled businesses.

Pepin also served as vice president of operations at Auth0, an identification authentication software startup valued at $1.9 billion after raising $120 million in July.

Before a 3-year stint at Auth0, Pepin served as business information security officer (BISO) at Nike and Sumo Logic, the publicly-traded cloud giant.

The $2 million seed round was led by Susa, with participation from Founders’ Co-op, Costanoa, Voyager Capital, Portland Seed Fund, Unity Now, and angel investors. Auth0 CEO Eugenio Pace is one of the company’s advisors.

Seattle-based Founders’ Co-op was an early investor in Auth0 and met Pepin through the company’s former CEO. Chris DeVore, managing partner at Founders’ Co-op, said he’s seen many portfolio startups struggle to balance the need for information security with other parts of the business.

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“Joan’s practical, scalable approach to enterprise security was informed by her experience as a leader at both Auth0 and Nike, and struck us as exactly the right approach,” DeVore said.

Pepin is the sole employee for now but plans to hire with the fresh funding. The company is based in Portland but is “remote-first” and is hiring everywhere.





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