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Chronicle's ex-CSO is starting a new company he doesn't want you to know much about

Zack Whittaker
·2-min read
Question mark symbol 3D isometric seamless pattern, Doubt concept poster and banner vertical design illustration isolated on blue background with copy space, vector eps 10
Question mark symbol 3D isometric seamless pattern, Doubt concept poster and banner vertical design illustration isolated on blue background with copy space, vector eps 10

Mike Wiacek is back with a new company, a year after departing his role as chief security officer at Chronicle, Google's moonshot cybersecurity company.

Wiacek spent 13 years at Google, founding the company's Threat Analysis Group, a unit dedicated to countering government and state-backed hacking efforts, and also co-founding Chronicle, which was rolled into Google Cloud after a series of high-profile executive departures, including his own.

Armed with more than a decade of experience, Wiacek is now steering the ship at Stairwell, his new cybersecurity startup. Stairwell is now out of stealth after almost a year and securing $4.5 million in seed funding, led by venture firm Accel, with participation from Sequoia Capital, Gradient Ventures and Allen & Company.

In a press release, the company said it wants "to provide security teams with accessible, user-centric tools that help them understand the pivotal relationships between their external and internal data sources. With this intelligence, organizations will be in a much stronger position to proactively combat the most sophisticated and dangerous cyber attacks." And, in a call with TechCrunch, Wiacek said his vision for the new company is to "empower any team to defend against every attacker."

But the founder took the unusual step of declining to say how the company plans to get there. Wiacek confirmed that Stairwell is building at least one product, but declined to offer details of what it is, what it does or when it will be out.

Admittedly, that made the ensuing conversation rather difficult.

Wiacek said Jan Kang, former chief legal officer at Chronicle, has joined the startup, and the seed round will go toward staffing his team. Stairwell has 10 employees at launch, largely focused on engineering, and plans to also include designers, physicists and applied mathematicians.

As for what the company is working on, "I think it's one of those things we just have to wait and see," said Wiacek.

I guess we'll have to.