oak9 Secures $5.9 Million Seed Round to Launch Infrastructure-as-Code Security Platform
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The History of oak9

The company’s three founders — Raj Datta, CEO; Om Vyas, CPO; and Aakash Shah, CTO — have known each other for 20 years and all live within blocks of each other in the Chicago area. Each brings a unique background to the founding team.

Raj has spent more than 20 years in business leadership roles in the software industry. Om has an extensive background in development, with over 17 years creating enterprise software products and cloud strategies, as well as building agile software development and DevOps teams. Aakash has been developing cybersecurity strategies, building security products, and contributing to industry standards for more than 17 years. Their combined skills and expertise give oak9 a well-rounded perspective on the challenges of infrastructure as code security.

Although Om and Aakash were working with different organizations - both realized separately that there was a gap between developers, DevOps, and the security teams.

Aakash recognized that security wasn’t scalable for infrastructure as code. At the time, companies were producing tens of thousands of lines of code, but they only caught security gaps after that code was deployed, using cloud security posture management (CSPM) tools. The companies would then have to redevelop and redeploy the software, creating a huge backlog as security teams caught up to development, slowing the process and eroding the speed advantages of infrastructure as code.

Om realized that developers and DevOps teams were expected to know much more about security than they did. Teams were normally asked to follow a security checklist that was not meaningful to them as it just wasn’t a core competency.

Hence, Aakash began working with Om on a platform that would build security into the design phase of development and implement it throughout the entire development lifecycle. Having both a security and development perspective has allowed the oak9 solutions to be created with security and development collaboration at the foundation, resulting in improved business velocity and agility.

Once they started thinking about ways to capitalize on the platform, they brought Raj into the picture and oak9 was born.

The founding team brings together a trifecta of expertise: a business operations leader (Raj Datta), a security expert (Aakash Shah) and a development innovator (Om Vyas).

Raj Datta, CEO

Raj has spent 20 years building and rebuilding software businesses, holding senior leadership roles at IBM, and overseeing end-to-end operations at Software AG before stepping into the role of Founder and CEO at oak9. He has held executive roles in America and around the world.

Raj's business focus provides oak9 with the expertise needed to operate as an agile and profitable company, while his knowledge of developing new routes-to-market will help oak9 navigate a path to sustainable growth.

Raj Datta holds an MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management and an undergraduate degree from University of Illinois in Economics.

Aakash Shah, CTO

A proven leader in cybersecurity, Aakash Shah has spent over 17 years in a wide range of roles. He has worked with some of America’s largest hospital networks, helping with their transformation towards digital and electronic records, new business models, and to support security practices protecting patient privacy. He also designed the security architecture for satellite terminals being built for the Department of Defense, using off-the-shelf parts and open-source software.

Aakash has conducted foundational research in cybersecurity and holds an undergrad degree in Computer Engineering from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an M.S. in Information Security from Carnegie Mellon.

Om Vyas, CPO

Om Vyas is a software developer with 17 years of experience. Om brings innovation and disruption, having led digital transformations at a variety of organizations. He has led large development efforts and built new products to create competitive advantage. His expertise provides the developer's perspective, ensuring the product is seamless to use for developers, and freeing them from worries about security and compliance.

Om has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Chicago.

What Happens Next?

The security and infrastructure automation used by oak9 is an emerging technology because currently, many organizations are still behaving in an ad-hoc method as they move from on-site infrastructure into the cloud. DevSecOps is a high growth area - and likely to see remarkable evolution over the next few years.

Security threats will clearly continue to evolve, especially as the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes part of everyday life, rather than a new, fringe benefit. This is likely to lead to a growth in siegeware. Regulations and oversight are also continuing to increase, with legislation such as GDPR or CCPA pushing companies to increase protection for customer data. Attackers will continue to take advantage of any weakness they can find in cloud native solutions.

Security, previously seen as risk management, is shifting to a critical business-enabling technology. Security organizations are inevitably going to integrate into the development cycle. Moving forward, people will expect applications to be secure and compliant by design. This means a head start for platforms such as oak9, which can do this easily, without adding work for developers, while allowing for automatic assessments and easy evolution of security design.


oak9 offers a cloud security platform that allows both developers and security engineers to work autonomously, while sharing responsibility and collaborating effectively. It seamlessly builds security into each release for developers, DevOps and Security teams.

The oak9 platform frees developers and security engineers from needing to develop skills outside their specialty. This means developers won't have to developers won't have to worry about security, and security engineers won't need to be experts in cloud service provision.

Designing applications which meet compliance and security standards from inception saves your company time and money while creating a sustainable competitive advantage in a busy market.

Contact us today to see a demo and learn how we can provide value to your organization in minutes.