Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

CrowdStrike Lands $30 Million Series B Led by Accel Partners

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iStockphoto | dny59

In recent weeks or months, you may have heard this saying: “There are only two kinds of companies: Those that have been hacked, and those that don’t yet know they’ve been hacked.”

I’m told that the phrase originated at CrowdStrike, a computer-security firm based in Irvine, Calif. Today, that firm announced that it has raised a $30 million Series B round of venture capital funding led by Accel Partners, with its founding investor, the private equity firm Warburg Pincus, also participating. Accel partner Sameer Gandhi is joining CrowdStrike’s board of directors.

Security is obviously a big topic these days, given all the hacking that has been going on lately, whether it’s attacks on the New York Times by Syrian hackers bent on spreading propaganda, or theft of intellectual property by China’s People’s Liberation Army. If you’re running a company of any size, security has to be huge operational consideration.

Crowdstrike runs a cloud-based platform that uses advanced analytics and machine learning to analyze attacks in real time as they happen, and to determine who’s carrying out the attack. This problem of attribution is always a huge deal in computer-security circles. Once you know you’ve been attacked, you want to know who did it. Usually, you can find this out after the fact. It’s a little trickier to figure it out while the attack is still going on.

“We’ve built a platform that can identity the kind of attack that is being used, but we can also determine who’s behind it and what their motivation is,” said George Kurtz, CEO and co-founder.

The firm uses a big data and analytics platform to keep track of hacking groups around the world, and Kurtz said it can usually figure out who’s behind an attack, and shut it down.

Security has become a big focus at Accel, and it coincides with its efforts around big data. Its security-related investments include mobile security firm Lookout, Imperva and Tenable Security.

“It’s rare that a couple days go by and you don’t see an article about a major computer-security breach somewhere,” said Accel’s Gandi. “The nature and sophistication of the actual attacks has escalated dramatically, and so have the sources. We’ve gone beyond the days when it was splinter groups. Now they’re well-financed and sometimes state-sponsored groups that are not just vandalizing government and trade secrets. We’re looking for companies that aren’t taking just incremental steps. We’re looking for companies providing more protection.”

The round brings CrowdStrike’s total capital raised to $56 million. Kurtz said the funds will be used to boost its sales hiring and to build out its engineering team. He also sees the potential for acquisitions. “We’d like to have some cash in the bank to buy some great small technology companies,” he said.


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