Irish co-founded tech company Sonrai secures $20m in funding

Brendan Hannigan says he is keen to establish an engineering facility in Ireland

An Irish co-founded cybersecurity company that raised $18.5 million (€15.8 million) in funding to coincide with its official launch last year, has secured a further $20 million in investment.

Sonrai Security, which has its headquarters in New York, was founded by Dubliner Brendan Hannigan and his business partner Sandy Bird in 2017, but operated in stealth mode until going public in January 2019. Sonrai, which means "data" in Irish, helps large corporations track, organise and protect data that is stored in the cloud.

The company said the new funding would be used to accelerate research and development along with global sales and marketing activities for Sonrai Dig, its identity and data governance platform.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Hannigan said the company was looking at opening a second engineering facility and that when that happened, it would be based in Ireland. He said this may not happen until 2022 at the earliest, however.


Menlo Ventures led the Series B funding round with full participation from founding investor Polaris Partners, of which Mr Hannigan was formerly a partner. Ten Eleven Ventures, which led the previous investment, also participated this time around.

San Francisco-based Menlo is one of the best-known Silicon Valley venture capital firms, having previously backed well-known companies that include Hotmail and Apple, which were acquired by Microsoft and Apple respectively, and Uber and Warby Parker.

Polaris, meanwhile, is well known in Ireland having backed Irish tech companies such as Boxever, Pointy, Profitero and Voysis. Irishman Noel Ruane, a partner at the firm, was also instrumental in establishing Dogpatch Labs in Dublin.

“The increasing frequency of cloud breaches caused by identity and data access complexity has driven significant traction for our Sonrai Dig platform among large enterprises, who see it as the basis of their cloud security model,” said Mr Hannigan.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with Menlo Ventures, whose long experience in this space will help us rapidly accelerate our expansion,” he added.

Tech veteran

Mr Hannigan is a tech veteran who has lived in the US since the early 1990s. A graduate of UCD's School of Computer Science, he initially worked for Digital Equipment Corporation in Clonmel before emigrating.

He has worked for a number of well-known corporates in the intervening years, including as president and chief executive of Q1 Labs, a company acquired by IBM in 2011 in a multimillion-dollar deal.

Following the acquisition he joined IBM, where he led its cybersecurity division, whose revenues grew from $900 million to almost $2 billion in four years, becoming one of the world’s largest security providers. He left the company in 2015 and, prior to founding Sonrai, had been a board member on a number of cybersecurity-related companies and a partner at Polaris.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist