Interview with Distil Networks CEO


Distil Networks is a leading security start-up founded in 2011 that has raised $10M in venture capital. Distil Networks offers an intelligent algorithm driven platform that detects and mitigates bot attacks, theft bots, click fraud, price scraping, content scraping and automated malware attacks. The company was founded by Rami Essaid, Andrew Stein and Engin Akyol. The founding team previously worked at Cisco, Riverbed Technologies and Neustar. The service comes in two offerings: cloud-based service and an appliance.

Distil Networks has one of the largest, if not the largest database of bot fingerprints in the world, with that number now at 16+ billion.  According to Rami (CEO), their approach is different and unique, in that they share detailed bot fingerprints and attack intelligence with all their customers. Fighting bots is a cat and mouse game, between the good guys and the hackers. Distil Networks must constantly innovate because once a bot is detected and mitigated, hackers re-architect the bot and re-create a new variant that evades current bot detection technologies.

CDN Powered

Distil Networks is powered by a custom built 16 POP CDN infrastructure that uses anycast routing. Their CDN covers the following regions: North America, Europe, APAC and Australia. Rami did mention that they have plans to expand the POP count in the near future, including South America. In regards to the appliance solution, that is a smart move on their part because it allows Distill Networks to sell into accounts that are already using CDNs, and as it is now they do shares many customers with Akamai. Another key point is that having the appliance option is ideal for some customers that are wary of cloud, due either to security, compliance or regulatory reasons.

 Company Background
  • Started: 2011
  • Raised: $10M
  • HQ: Arlington, VA
  • Employee Count: 50
  • VCs: Foundry Group, FF Venture Capital and CIT GAP Funds
  • Co-founders: Rami Essaid (CEO), Engin Akyol (CTO) and Andrew Stein (Chief Scientist)
  • Product: Advanced security platform that detects and mitigates all forms of bots, automated malware attacks, price scraping, click fraud and data aggregation
  • Customers: Hundreds of customers including dozens of Fortune 500
 Platform Features
  • Bot Detection: Advanced bot detection platform that blocks all forms of bots. Database contains fingerprints on 16 billion bots
  • Theft Bots: Prevents price scraping, list scrapings and content hijacking (aggregation)
  • Fraud Bots: Protects against form spam, comment spam, click fraud, and prevents competitors from clicking ads
  • Content Acceleration: Custom built content delivery network with 16 POPs that runs on anycast
  • Private Cloud: Bot protection is offered as a cloud service or physical appliance
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