Kathryn Shih is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Forgepoint. Learn more about her background here. Kathryn, your background is unique. You started your career as a software engineer, pivoted to product management, and are now an expert in generative…Read More
As Cloudflare completes its acquisition of Area 1 Security, we at Forgepoint Capital want to wish Patrick Sweeney, Oren Falkowitz, Phil Syme, Blake Darché and the entire team at Area 1 hearty congratulations and wish them all the very best as the two companies join forces.
Our goal has always been to invest in companies that use cutting edge technology to solve clear and present problems for organizations and empower them to do build more secure solutions faster for their customers. Area 1 fit the bill by all accounts. Phishing still remains one of the most common attack vectors in cybersecurity and the problem is exacerbated in today’s cloud scale world, which is flatter and more remote than ever.
Email is the primary vector of attack through which billions of dollars are lost worldwide because of ransomware and business email compromise. Legacy solutions for email security were not tooled for the cloud or the volume of emails we see across enterprises today. Not only are these legacy solutions hard to deploy but they are also difficult to maintain once deployed, given their constant need for retuning.
Area 1’s sophisticated cloud-based email security solution was purpose-built for the cloud and continuously augmented using state of the art machine learning techniques to thwart even the most complex email security threats. The founders of the company were subject matter experts with a proven track record of building differentiated solutions that were backed by intellectual property that was hard to replicate.
As we were looking to invest, we saw that the company had meaningful traction with some of the largest enterprises across key verticals. Brands such as Pepsi, Metlife, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, and Delta Airlines were using Area 1 to protect themselves from email attacks. We saw a passionate and technically capable team that needed help with augmenting their go to market efforts. As company builders, we pride ourselves in being able to help scale early-stage businesses in large and growing market segments and we led the company’s last round of funding.
Post investment, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work by helping recruit Patrick Sweeney as CEO and Steve Pataky as CRO, both experienced go to market executives to help accelerate the growth trajectory of the company. Just as important as hiring the right leadership is to de-risk execution, so we leveraged our network to be impactful in opening doors to customers, and provided counsel when asked, although we knew when to step back and let the team excel. Being able to add value like this is core to our ethos as investors.
On behalf of the Forgepoint team, Leo, MJ and I believe that Area 1 has found the right home at Cloudflare and have no doubt that the synergistic offerings of both companies together will make the internet and our inboxes safer.
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