Corsa Security gaining global traction as remote work trend ramps up wireless traffic

Carolyn Raab
Corsa Security chief product officer and co-founder Carolyn Raab. File photo

An Ottawa cybersecurity company that helps customers beef up their firewalls without slowing down the flow of traffic on their networks is continuing its high-speed ascent as it racks up millions of dollars in funding and expands its reach into new markets.

Corsa Security recently landed $7 million in fresh funding from longtime investor Roadmap Capital, cash the company plans to use to keep evolving its platform of virtual firewalls that give a boost to traditional cybersecurity defences. 

The new equity comes less than eight months after Corsa received another $11 million from Toronto-based Roadmap in a previous funding round. 

The nearly $20 million in fresh operating capital brings Corsa’s total funding haul to at least $50 million. In addition, the seven-year-old company recently beefed up its C-suite with the hiring of veteran sales executive Claudio Perugini as chief revenue officer.

New York-based Perugini, who joined Corsa in March, brings more than three decades of experience selling technology around the world and has already helped add to Corsa’s growing list of channel partners.

“This is sort of all tied together as we continue to build our momentum,” says Carolyn Raab, Corsa’s chief product officer and co-founder.

Work-from-home shift

Corsa seemingly hasn’t stopped gaining steam since the company pivoted 18 months ago from producing software-defined networking technology to focusing on its virtual firewall system. Raab says the technology is becoming even more relevant as a dramatic shift in work habits during the COVID-19 pandemic has ratcheted up demands on high-speed networks.

“Traffic volumes on the internet are just going through the roof,” she notes. “The whole work-from-home shift that we’ve all gone through in the last four months has also changed how people are looking at their networks.”

In order to regulate traffic flowing into a network, firewalls typically need to inspect and potentially decrypt packets of information before data can carry on – a process that’s nearly impossible to do at rapid speeds. Corsa gets around this problem through a series of virtual machines that segment and scale the firewall’s filtering process.

The company works with security giants that include the likes of Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks to implement its tech, and Raab says the company is looking to add more partners to the roster. While about 80 per cent of its customers – which include big names from the banking, government and education sectors – are in North America, Corsa has a growing presence in Europe and recently strengthened its foothold in the Middle Eastern and Asian markets when it inked a deal with Spider Digital, a fintech firm with offices in Dubai and Bangladesh.

For now, Raab says, the company remains focused on virtual firewalls. But she believes there’s huge potential for new developments in areas such as scaling web proxies and other network security applications in the future. 

In an industry as competitive as cybersecurity, she explains, if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind.

“Cybersecurity is constantly evolving,” she says. “There’s so much more we can do. You have to bring something new to the table or it’s just … why bother?”

Now at about 50 employees, Corsa plans to use some of the new funding to add to its product development and sales teams. Raab says the company is starting to see a “pickup” in revenues compared with the height of the pandemic, adding customers have responded well to virtual sales campaigns so far. But she says she’s concerned about the long-term effects of “Zoom fatigue” on a sector that traditionally relies heavily on face-to-face meetings to seal deals.

“I’m worried that that won’t last,” she says of the effectiveness of remote customer calls. “But you can’t control that.”