Founders in Focus: Adam Markowitz of Drata

Welcome to our Founders in Focus series, where each month we highlight one of the founders of Okta Ventures’ portfolio companies. You’ll learn more about them and how they work with Okta. This month, we’re hearing from Adam Markowitz, co-founder and CEO at Drata.

What is Drata and what is your mission?

Drata provides companies with the world’s most advanced security and compliance automation platform. Our technology continuously monitors and collects evidence of a company’s security controls while streamlining compliance workflows to ensure audit readiness. Meeting the requirements of security frameworks like SOC 2 and ISO 27001 can be incredibly time consuming, yet have become a requirement for companies storing or processing data in the cloud. Drata seeks to bring the power of automation to this process so our customers can achieve and maintain compliance while building trust with those they do business with. Building trust is the mission of Drata, and we believe the best way to earn that trust is by first proving you deserve it. Drata is the proof layer between great companies and those they engage with.

What were you doing prior to Drata that led you to this moment?

I spent the early part of my career working as an aerospace engineer on NASA’s space shuttle program. When NASA retired the shuttle fleet in 2010, I decided to create a digital portfolio so employers could see visual proof of my work and help set me apart from the usual stack of resumes. The approach worked so well that I took a leap of faith in building a company around it, and Portfolium, an edtech social network often referred to as “the LinkedIn for academia”, was born. Portfolium, like Drata, was the proof layer between students and recent grads and the employers looking to hire them based on their competencies.

Portfolium was sold to Instructure (NYSE:INST) in 2019 and provided me with a solid entrepreneurial foundation. I saw how identifying a pain point in my own life could translate into an effective solution and successful company. A pain point we experienced while building Portfolium was achieving and maintaining SOC 2 compliance. With academia as our target industry, we soon found ourselves getting requests for proof of our security controls and the audit and formal documentation to back it up. Going through the SOC 2 process was manual, tedious, and a headache that would only grow over time as the size of the company grew as well. I knew there had to be a better way.

What is Drata’s solution? What challenge does it solve?

Drata’s platform helps companies achieve, maintain, and prove continuous compliance through an automation-first approach. By leveraging our deep, native integrations, intuitive UI, and world-class customer support, businesses no longer have to spend hours working with manual spreadsheets and screenshots in order to provide proof to an auditor. With Drata, companies can gain immediate visibility into their security program and streamline the compliance process end-to-end, including personnel onboarding, policy creation, vendor management, risk assessment, and more. Our aim is to provide our customers with the fastest time-to-value possible so they can use their successful audit(s) to build customer trust and accelerate their growth.

Why did Drata want to work with Okta?

Okta is one of Drata’s leading integrations, and the leader in SSO. We share Okta’s commitment to building customer trust and providing companies with a cutting-edge solution that makes operations safer and easier. What’s more, the team at Okta Ventures is highly knowledgeable and has already helped us significantly in terms of industry expertise and connections. We’re proud to call Okta both a partner and investor.

What trends do you expect to see in the security and compliance industry?

It’s clear that frameworks like SOC 2 and ISO 27001 aren’t going away any time soon. Once seen as a “nice to have,” proof of meeting these standards has increasingly become a requirement for doing business. With data breaches occurring across industries more frequently than ever, the need to build trust and showcase commitment through compliance will only continue to grow. I think more and more companies will turn to automation solutions to not only meet their audits quickly and effectively, but also continuously monitor and improve their security posture over time.