Business COVID-19 Startups Venture

Canada’s Tehama Raises $10M Series A For Virtual Workforce Deployment Platform

Tehama, a SaaS platform that aims to offer a secure way to deploy a virtual workforce, has raised $10 million in a Series A round, the Ontario, Canada-based company told Crunchbase News exclusively.

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Toronto-based OMERS Ventures 1 led the investment, with participation from BDC Capital’s Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology (ICE) Venture Fund.

Tehama says that its cloud-based platform can deliver “highly secure” virtual offices, rooms and desktops “anywhere in minutes” as it can run in any web browser on any device. The beauty of its offering, it claims, is that it requires no  professional services, no infrastructure installation and no networks to retool.

This is particularly meaningful in the post-COVID-19 pandemic world where so many people are working remotely due to shelter-in-place orders.

“The future of work is virtual, and that future has now permanently been accelerated,” said Tehama Founder and CEO Paul Vallée. “Today, almost every enterprise is grappling with challenges of an immediate work-from-home mandate such as security, bandwidth, performance, audit and compliance issues. There’s an urgent need for a new way to enable a secure virtual workforce.”

Proven technology

While Tehama is a relatively new company, its technology is not. Tehama was born out of Pythian, a 23-year-old IT services company that Vallée also founded. Over the years, the Pythian team built tools to help it securely deliver IT services to global clients with strict security and compliance requirements. That technology was used to onboard third-party vendors securely and to help them work with “top talent” remotely without compromising security.

“We were operating in the remote database admin space,” Vallée explains. “CIOs were concerned about giving access to all of their most sensitive data, so we created this technology to address their security and compliance challenges. Over time, it became clear that there was a greater need to expand and take the product to market.”

Tehama launched to the public in September 2018, spun off from Pythian in September 2019, and now has more than 150 enterprises using the platform (including Fox Sports, National Geographic, the University of Utah and mapp).

At the time of its spinoff, it had more than 100 customers. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, Tehama added 30 percent of its customers and saw a 67 percent increase in usage, Vallée said.

So, not only is the company winning more new customers, it’s seeing existing customers use its platform even more.

“Almost immediately, we saw an explosion in business due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Vallée told Crunchbase News. “Certainly, we’re not celebrating it. But it’s true that we are all now very concerned and dealing with massive changes in businesses and to our lives. So it’s fair to say the pandemic has dramatically accelerated our vision.”

“The world in May 2020 is radically different from the world in January 2020,” he continued. “There are dramatically more enterprises with the majority of their workforce working from home than there ever has been in the history of humanity.”

Tehama currently has 60 employees, up from about 12 last year at this time.

How it works

Tehama’s main goal is to help remote workers connect to enterprise systems and data safely. It does this via virtual rooms that serve as an airlock for data, Vallée said.

“The rooms let workers in but the data can’t escape,” he told Crunchbase News. “There’s like a security guard at the door, making sure only the right people get in. And there are rules for what you can exist with.”

Once inside one of these rooms, a worker is equipped with all the tools needed to be efficient working from home, according to Vallée. They have the ability to access secrets and share files, among other things.

“Ultimately, the room provides a compliance-oriented and security-oriented feature set around complete visibility of what happened in the room, and who enabled it to happen,” Vallée told Crunchbase News. “There’s an evidence trail of every configuration, every authentication and every access to data.”

Investor POV

Shawn Chance, venture partner at OMERS Ventures, said his firm had been looking at the desktop virtualization space for some time and appreciated Tehama’s security and compliance-focused approach.

The company is addressing the market from a fresh perspective, “with compliance and security built in, unencumbered by legacy technology,” he added.

“This puts them in a unique position to deliver an effective solution, satisfying both the end-user experience and their enterprise IT requirements,” Chance said. OMERS was also impressed by Vallee’s success with Pythian.

“When investing at Series A it’s important to have conviction in the founder’s ability to build a strong business,” he told Crunchbase News. “With his track record, and the solid team already onboard, there’s no doubt at all that Paul Vallee has that in spades.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias


  1. OMERS Ventures is an investor in Crunchbase. Our disclosure rules are detailed here.

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