On the heels of a reported $500m valuation, CMO and Co-founder Dror Liwer shared insights into the success of Coro, a SaaS cybersecurity platform for midmarket companies. Co-founder Liwer sat down with the GetLatka team to share how his B2B SaaS pivoted to find their sweet spot; how Coro successfully gets freemium users to cross the paywall, and why he’s cautiously confident they can sustain their 300% YOY growth for at least another year.
Before becoming a serial entrepreneur, Dror Liwer made the unusual crossover from a CIO to a CMO. As the CIO of the Israel Defense Force’s Military Police, he thwarted some of the very first cybercrimes and threats. Eventually, he became the Chief Security Officer at a mid-sized marketing agency. This foray into marketing changed the trajectory of his career. “It’s a lot more fun in marketing,” quipped the now-CMO and Co-founder.
$500m estimated valuation after $60m Series C round
- 4,500 customers on the platform
- 300% YOY growth for last 3 years
- Affordable cybersecurity for $7 per seat per month
CMO Liwer serves the cybersecurity needs of small and mid-market businesses by offering an affordable, easy-to-use platform. “Midmarket businesses can’t afford or deal with all the products they would otherwise need for their cybersecurity environment,” explained Liwer. “They would need 6-15 products, spend $40-115 per user per month, plus manage and integrate all those services,” Liwer added. He and his co-founders instead created a single platform that this market could use for $7 per user per month.
Sweet spot of 600
The ideal customer sweet spot for Coro is 600 users, according to CMO Liwer. He reiterated that the platform is extremely easy to use and that the team continues to add the features that customers are most interested in.
Started with enterprise focus, faced 2,700 competitors
Co-founder Liwer started Coro as a cybersecurity company in 2014 with an eye on the enterprise market, like many other vendors. They quickly realized they were in a fiercely competitive space with 2,700 other vendors. He and his co-founders paused to evaluate the market. They realized that although they were getting enterprise queries, many prospects were from midmarket. Liwer uncovered that this group hadn’t bought cybersecurity products because of the complexity, price, and need for multiple platforms.
Pivoted and relaunched in 2018
Liwer and his team redesigned their product to fit the market opportunity they uncovered. They launched SecureCloud in 2018 and are launching a new version of the platform this year that’s even simpler. The new product integrated what the customers were most interested in, including email and storage. “It’s very easy to absorb and manage,” beamed Liwer.
4,500 customers on the platform
Today, Coro serves 4,500 customers. Although CMO Liwer noted that their sweet spot is 600-700 seats, he indicated that their customer base ranges from 20 to 30,000 seats. Coro’s total base is between 2 and 3 million seats.
300% YoY growth for 3 years
Over the past three years, Coro has grown 300% YoY, according to Co-founder Liwer. “It’s much easier to grow from $100,000 to $300,000. It’s hard to grow from $6m to $18m,” he lamented. Latka confirmed with Liwer that last year’s sales exceeded roughly $6m.
On target for $18m? Maybe.
Lakta queried Liwer if he expected to exceed $18m this year. “Yes, we are trying to break $18m. But nothing is comfortable in today’s economy. We can’t take anything for granted,” answered the Co-founder. However, Liwer did go on to reiterate his belief in the B2B SaaS’ unique market product fit. “The market needs what we offer, and we offer exactly what they need at a price they can afford,” noted Liwer.
103% net dollar retention; new customers fuel new growth
Although existing customers add seats over time, CMO Liwer explained that the company’s aggressive growth comes from new customer acquisition. Coro works with MSP (managed service provider) channel partners responsible for half of all new customers, with the other half coming directly. “We have wonderful channel partners. These MSPs provide IT for companies that don’t have a full IT team,” explained Liwer.
150,000 of 2mm freemium seats converted to paid
CMO Liwer confirmed with Latka that Coro relies on the freemium model to drive customer growth. “We offer free monitoring for life. We provide mitigation when you pay,” he explained. Liwer went on to say that Coro’s AI engines fix cybersecurity issues on behalf of its paying customers. To date, the platform has converted roughly 150,000 of its 2m freemium seats to paid.
Playbook for freemium conversion
According to Liwer, the freemium model is ideal for their business. “We allow users to see the real risk of cyber threats in their own environment, for free. After deployment, users get alerts to see the scary stuff that’s happening. Once they see that they’re at risk, it’s an easy step over the paywall,” explained the Co-founder. He added that many customers don’t want to deal with the hassle of dealing with the risks, so they turn to Coro to manage. Then, customers get reports on the risks mitigated and how Coro fixed them. Latka pointed out that many SaaS founders struggle with the freemium model and suggested that they emulate Liwer’s approach. “If you don’t convert to paid, here’s all the bad stuff that could happen but won’t happen because we will handle it for you,” he restated.
Constant monitoring, even at 3 AM
Liwer shared his favorite customer story. An IT guy noticed that his CEO suddenly connected from a country they’re not in. He fixed the situation. But what if it was at 3 AM? “Machines don’t sleep. They don’t take breaks, and they don’t go on strike,” noted Liwer. “Coro works in the background doing menial tasks like continuous monitoring and chasing events so humans can deal with the more important stuff,” he concluded.
$125m total funds raised, from Day 1
Co-founder Liwer shared that Coro has raised capital since day 1. They began as part of an accelerator and raised their first Seed round of $1.5m in 2014. Their Series A Round in 2016 was for $5.5m, and Series B in 2018 raised another $20m. They recently raised an additional $20m before their official Series C Round of $60m. After confirming that Coro reached a $1m run rate in 2019, Latka appeared visibly impressed that Liwer raised a $20m Series B early in the company’s growth.
$60m Series C Round, estimated $500m post-money valuation
Like nearly all previous rounds, Jerusalem Venture Partners led the Series C Round. “It’s very important who you partner with. We selected partners that believe in our vision, and JVP has been there from the beginning,” gushed Liwer.
No secondary funding to-date
With employees on board since 2016, Latka asked Liwer why they haven’t done any secondary funding. “The founders and employees believe in the company and don’t want to give up equity,” responded the CMO. When pressed by Latka, Liwer further explained, “We offer a good salary and benefits; we didn’t build the company with the goal of exiting.” The CMO added, “We can dominate one of the only blue oceans left in cybersecurity. This entire industry is focused on either consumer or enterprise.”
Coro CMO and Co-founder Dror Liwer identified the iconic classic Blink by Malcolm Gladwell as his favorite business book. Like many other Latka interviewees, Dror named Elon Musk as the CEO he follows most closely. The passionate marketer selected HubSpot as his go-to tool for building Coro. Dror sleeps a short 4.5 hours per night. As always, Nathan chided the founder for so few hours of sleep, to which Dror responded, “Founders don’t sleep. And I drink lots of caffeine.” Dror is married with two daughters. He is 53. At 20, Dror wishes he had started investing earlier.