With a new $100 million Series D funding round, Crowdstrike now has its sights set on global expansion, new technologies, and new sales and marketing investments.
The funding, announced Wednesday, makes Irvine, Calif.-based Crowdstrike the latest startup to reach a valuation of more than $1 billion – a "unicorn" in Silicon Valley parlance.
The funding was led by Accel, with additional participation from CapitalG (formerly Google Capital), Warburg Pincus, March Capital Partners, and Telstra. The Series D funding adds to the $100 million the company last raised in 2015 and brings its total funding raised to $256 million.
In an interview with CRN, CEO George Kurtz said the Series D funding will allow Crowdstrike to expand globally, invest in sales and marketing, and add new partner relationships. He said Crowdstrike will also look to continue investing in engineering and technology innovation, building on the strategy it embraced in February when it repackaged its products into modules around its Falcon platform.
"It's an exciting day for us," Kurtz said. "It means additional acceleration and growth for Crowdstrike to continue on the path we've been on."
"Their ability to grow and take on additional funding to help fuel their growth is a very positive sign for us," said John Van Blaricum, vice president of global marketing at Kudelski Security, a Switzerland-based Crowdstrike partner.
He said he expects Crowdstrike's international expansion plans, where Kudelski has a strong footprint, as well as its planned investments in technology and partnerships will help add to the "high" adoption the company has seen with its clients and in its managed security services offering.
Kurtz said the funding is also a validation of the company's technology and success it has as an antivirus replacement. Crowdstrike has seen "tremendous" sales growth since its launch, with a 3-year growth rate of 2,429 percent and adding more than 400 employees in the past two years, much of which Kurtz said has been driven by massive replacements of legacy antivirus.
"People are really taking notice because we're coming out with a better solution. It's a massive market opportunity for us," Kurtz said. "Our focus on AV replacement has really come to fruition now, and we will continue to do that," Kurtz said. An example of that was the past week's WannaCry ransomware attacks, with customers protected because of the company's machine learning technology, he said.
The funding also comes as the endpoint security market, where Crowdstrike plays, continues to be a hotly competitive and growing space. Crowdstrike competes head-to-head with other companies looking to replace legacy antivirus, including Cylance, as well as the legacy antivirus companies themselves that are looking to develop next-generation endpoint security capabilities. Kurtz said the funding would help Crowdstrike maintain its position in the market, as well as invest in sales and marketing to get the word out about its endpoint security and other technologies.
"It's a competitive space and [the funding] allows us to get more reach. We do have the best product and we win more times than our competition when we're in a competitive situation," Kurtz said.
Kurtz said partners will also see the benefit of Crowdstrike's new funding, with partners as a key piece in the company's international expansion plans and overall go to market strategy. He said Channel Chief Jody Len and team have worked to build a strong relationship with the channel, which accounts for the majority of Crowdstrike business, and will continue to invest as Crowdstrike looks to add partners globally, as well as those down market that service midmarket and SMB companies.
"We certainly can't be successful in our journey [going forward] and we wouldn’t be as successful as we are today without partners," Kurtz said.
Kurtz said IPO plans could be in Crowdstrike's future, saying the company has the right setup, growth, subscription revenue, and customers for that next step.
"We certainly would be a good IPO candidate," Kurtz said. However, he said it is ultimately up to the board of directors to make that decision and that Crowdstrike is first and foremost focused on putting the $100 million to good use expanding the company.