Auckland-based cybersecurity startup Onwardly has raised NZ$1 million in a seed round less than 12 months after launching.
The seed round was led by Kendra Ross of We Love Cyber, and supported by Pushpay founders Eliot Crowther and Chris Heaslip and entrepreneurs Zheng Li & JD Trask of Raygun.
The funds are earmarked towards growth and further product development.
Onwardly is a SaaS platform helping tech leaders create well-defended businesses through self-assessment and other supports to manage their cybersecurity, including compliance.
Founder and CEO Phil Howie was previously employee #1 at Pushpay, the global Kiwi success story. Phil spent 6 years at Pushpay, before going on to lead product and engineering at SaaS company Whip Around.
He launched Onwardly as a SaaS in Auckland in 2020, before going public with the product in February 2021, attracting multiple high profile customers such as Conqa, Laybuy and MyHR.
Howie set out to design a cybersecurity solution for smaller businesses because he was disappointed by the existing state of security software for tech companies.
“In startups, you are running as fast as you can. Everyone knows they should care about security, but few are able to really do it justice,” he said.
“Security work is often poorly understood, unorganised and often seen as tomorrow’s problem. Onwardly changes this by offering a clear pathway to security success.”
The Onwardly platform that enables you to self-assess your weaknesses, build policy and manage all of your security tasks in one place.
Howie said he wants businesses to regain confidence in their security programs, and save time by planning and collaborating on security tasks.
“Security is a team sport, and Onwardly is helping teams organise and collaborate together on all of their security-related work,” he said.
“One of the things we wanted to do is create a proper home for security work inside the business. The status quo for a long time has been spreadsheets and docs, but we can do much better than that. Onwardly creates a first-class collaborative experience on our platform making it easier to get security work done, and this is always more successful when you have multiple people working together.”
Investor and veteran cybersecurity entrepreneur Kendra Ross said Onwardly was this is the first time she’d seen a solution take the complexity out of the problem.
“It’s beginning to dawn on the world at large that cybercrime is escalating and businesses need to up their up their game, but for many they just don’t know where to start, that’s what drew me to Onwardly,” she said.
Howie said Onwardly has plans to expand into Australia and is already seeing strong early interest in the product from businesses there.