CrowdStrike has established a $20 million fund for coinvesting in early-stage cybersecurity startups that are building applications to work with the company's cloud-hosted Falcon endpoint protection platform.
The fund has been set up in partnership with Accel, a venture capital firm known for its investments in several successful high-tech firms, the most notable among them being Facebook.
CrowdStrike's Falcon Fund will invest in startups that are using Falcon to develop products that simplify security and IT operations for enterprises, according to the vendor.
Products from these companies will become available through CrowdStrike Store, an online venue that the company announced earlier this year and from which CrowdStrike's customers can purchase endpoint security applications from trusted third parties. The company has described the online store as giving customers the ability to select apps of their choice that extend and add on to CrowdStrike's own technologies without having to worry about installing agents for each one of them.
CrowdStrike's move is similar to one that Symantec took two years ago when it launched Symantec Ventures. That effort also is aimed at helping startups accelerate delivery of products that work with and extend Symantec's own products. Unlike CrowdStrike, though, Symantec has not disclosed how much it has set aside in venture capital for funding early-stage startups.
To qualify for investment consideration under CrowdStrike's Falcon Fund, a startup must have already attracted interest from other lead investors. It must also have an experienced team in charge and be working on marketable endpoint security analytics or endpoint enforcement technology, according to the company.
Falcon is CrowdStrike's suite of cloud-delivered endpoint protection technologies. The platform includes antivirus services and services for endpoint threat detection and response, managed threat hunting, and threat intelligence. CrowdStrike has positioned Falcon as a single-source replacement for multiple products, including standalone AV tools, host intrusion prevention, and host intrusion detection products.
The goal in creating the fund is to give startups that are leveraging CrowdStrike Falcon a way to accelerate delivery of their products while eliminating the need for them to build their own endpoint agents, says Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and CTO of CrowdStrike. "The fund will also allow us to further increase the CrowdStrike Store ecosystem by providing companies with funding to build on our platform," he says.
Customers will benefit by getting access to more third-party endpoint protection applications from within CrowdStrike's app store. "The CrowdStrike Store is where customers are able to discover, try, buy, and deploy trusted and certified our own and third-party applications and add-ons that extend their investment in the CrowdStrike Falcon platform," Alperovitch notes.
CrowdStrike's online store has garnered considerable interest from third-party app developers since its spring launch. So far, apps from two partners are available via the store, and the goal is to keep expanding the partner base over the next quarter and through 2020. "The Falcon platform was built as a true-API model, and through the Store ecosystem, we are committed to finding partners with applications that complement the cloud-native architecture of Falcon," Alperovitch says.
CrowdStrike announced revenue of $96.1 million in the first quarter of 2019 — up 103% over the same quarter last year. The company went public in June with an IPO valued at $34 per share and is currently valued at over $17 billion, or over $84 a share. The company is considered one of the biggest players in the endpoint security space — a market that is expected to grow from $11.8 billion last year to around $20 billion by 2024.
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