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(Polyverse Photo)

Polyverse raised $8 million to expand the reach of its cybersecurity technology that is used by government organizations and security-minded companies.

Polyverse CEO Alex Gounares. (Polyverse Photo)

The Bellevue, Wash. company — a member of CNBC’s top 100 startups list — says it stands out from other cybersecurity providers because it helps customers prevent attacks rather than react to them. Polyverse’s main product is “Polymorphing for Linux,” which scrambles open-source code without affecting its operation, shielding it from hackers looking to exploit weaknesses in the code.

Polyverse has been validated by the U.S. Department of Defense for mitigating zero-day attacks, intrusions that occur just as a vulnerability becomes public, such as the infamous WannaCry ransomware and hacks of companies like Equifax. The company says its technology is “running on millions of servers.”

“Reactive approaches fundamentally leave companies vulnerable for large periods of time — sometimes years or more,” Polyverse CEO Alexander Gounares told GeekWire. “With our Polymorphing technologies for operating systems and scripting languages, we are able to stop attacks before they start.”

The company has increased its headcount by about 50 percent over the last year, and it now has approximately 30 people on staff. Polyverse plans to use the cash infusion to expand in current markets — North America and Japan — and enter new territory, including the U.K. and Singapore.

Japanese security giant Soliton Systems KK and existing investors were involved in the funding round. The 4-year-old company, which is led by academics and engineers from Amazon, Microsoft and Google, also announced some recent hires.

  • Early Microsoft architect and computer hacker Mark “Zibo” Joseph Zbikowski joined the company. He was a designer of the MS-DOS executable file format.
  • Vice President of Enterprise Sales Phillip Cockrell came over from SUSE, maker of an operating system built on top of Linux. Cockrell led sales relationships with partners such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM and more.
  • New Chief Marketing Officer Joanne Harris also came over from SUSE. She was global vice president of marketing there, responsible for at marketing strategy and planning across the company.
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