This story is part of a series about Washtenaw County businesses' response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Support for this series is provided by Ann Arbor SPARK.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many workers to pivot to working from home, companies have had to invest more in cybersecurity to safely manage the change. Ann Arbor cybersecurity startup Blumira has felt this rising demand and seen tremendous growth in 2020 that it anticipates will continue through 2021 as well. Last year the startup raised $2.6 million, doubled its staff, and saw widespread adoption of its automated cybersecurity threat detection and response platform.
"It’s been a bit of a whirlwind," says Blumira CEO and co-founder Steve Fuller. "Security is a problem that just isn’t going away. With pressure on organizations to spend less, … more affordable solutions that require fewer resources became all the more attractive."
Blumira’s cloud-based security information and event management (SIEM) platform is targeted toward organizations that have limited security resources to prevent, detect, and respond to cybersecurity threats. This one-stop-shop approach is more accessible to smaller organizations that may need to boost security efforts as more workers access company systems remotely.
As Blumira experienced this surge in growth last year, employees also had to quickly pivot to working from home and learn how to grow a team remotely. Blumira, which was founded in 2018, doubled its headcount to 25 in 2020 and plans to do so again to reach 50 employees by the end of 2021.
With this rapid growth and lack of in-person contact, Fuller says a large emphasis has been placed on building relationships as employees work from home. Fuller says the team hosts regular virtual game nights and events to maintain connectedness, especially with many staffers who have been completely remote since joining Blumira and have never met their coworkers in person.
"The remote work definitely presents unusual challenges," Fuller says. "A lot of [how we're connecting] is lighthearted, and it’s a lot of diligence to keep checking in with individuals to make sure they’re getting what they need."
Many of Blumira's newly-hired employees have worked for other Ann Arbor tech companies. Jim Simpson, recently named Blumira's vice president of product, was formerly the director of product management at Duo Security. This year, Blumira plans to hire for additional leadership roles and to significantly expand its engineering and sales teams.
Remote recruiting has also had its challenges, but Fuller says he's excited by the talent Blumira has brought in and will continue to hire. Blumira is looking for people who are excited and inspired by the company's mission to make security accessible and easy, he says, and will use this excitement to fuel the company's ambitious growth objectives for the next year.
To view Blumira's open positions, visit its careers page.
For more Concentrate coverage of our community's response to the COVID-19 crisis, click here.
Emily Benda is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Blumira.