Socket raises $20 million in series A to tackle open source software security

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San Francisco-based startup Socket has announced a $20 million Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), with participation from Abstract Ventures, Wndrco, Unusual Ventures, and an array of high-profile angel investors, including the co-founders of Box, Figma, Okta, Vercel, and Eventbrite.

Founded in 2020, Socket provides a scanning tool designed to detect security vulnerabilities in open-source code, a field that has become increasingly important as reliance on open source software grows.

According to CEO Feross Aboukhadijeh, the new funds—coupled with the previous seed investment of $4.6 million, bringing the total raised to $24.6 million—will support the expansion of Socket’s team, as well as its support for more programming languages and integrations.

The necessity of Socket’s mission is underlined by recent studies. One 2023 trend study by security firm Synopsys found that 89% of company codebases contained open-source software over four years out of date, with 91% using components that were not the latest available versions. Meanwhile, a survey by Socket’s rival, Tidelift, revealed only 15% of organizations are extremely confident in their open-source management practices.

What sets Socket apart from rivals and tech giants like Google, which provides a similar service, is its in-depth approach. Unlike traditional scanners, Socket actively detects supply chain attacks and helps block them. It focuses on high-level red flags such as malware, typo-squatting, misleading packages, and unmaintained code, while offering tools to dive into codebase changes and assess the security and trustworthiness of open-source packages.

One innovative addition is Socket’s connection to ChatGPT, OpenAI’s AI-powered chatbot, summarizing potential software issues, especially “uncommon” code patterns.

Unlike most security software geared towards executives, Socket targets developers. Aboukhadijeh emphasizes that their focus on building a user-friendly product has led to actual excitement among security teams, a rare occurrence in the industry.

Since its founding, Socket has attracted notable customers such as Brave, Figma, and Vercel (with the latter two co-founders also investing). With this successful trajectory, Aboukhadijeh anticipates doubling the workforce in the coming months, focusing on expanding Socket’s engineering, security, operations, sales, and marketing teams.

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