Attivo Networks: Why We Invested

05.04.22 | William Lin | Blog Post

SentinelOne (NYSE: S) has officially completed its acquisition of Attivo Networks. We at Forgepoint Capital are honored to have had the opportunity to work with Tushar Kothari, Carolyn Crandall, Srikant Vissamsetti, Sarah Ashburn, Jilbert Washten, Tony Cole, Mano Murthy, Marc Feghali, Venu Vissamsetty, and the entire team at Attivo for the last five years.

Looking back, when we first examined the category Attivo was tackling – deception – we were skeptical. While deception was genuinely novel and a fun topic to brainstorm at the security conferences, we had seen multiple customers skeptical to experiment with deception solutions in 2015 and 2016. The industry’s concern was around scalability: that deception would be difficult to deploy and manage with questionable results.

However, we continued to study the problem at hand. Our mindset changed in early 2017, when we started seeing customers not only openly experimenting with deception in the new year but even committing budget to it. In this way, our Advisory Council was invaluable for their interest, vetting, and feedback including Myrna Soto, who was at the time Comcast’s Global CISO for helping us stay in tune with the latest thinking in the space.

And while the leader in deception was unclear in 2017 between three companies, we decided to invest in Attivo for multiple reasons.

One key reason was the team. While Attivo’s category was extremely noisy, we believed an enduring team would be able to weather the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. Tushar’s experience and the senior leadership team he pulled together in such early stages inferred this team would be willing to stick together for the long haul (7+ years now) to make this company a success.

A second major point of validation for the company were the customers actively piloting its technology and referenceable. As we mentioned, our Advisory Council was interested in Attivo – but so was 85 of the Fortune 500 at the time. Public companies with sophisticated security teams like AT&T, Disney, Home Depot, NEC, Amgen, Microsoft and Aflac validated the technology worked. Reviewing results from head to head evaluations, Attivo’s prolific engineering team clearly demonstrated their architectural and product management prowess.

After our original investment in Attivo’s Series B, we were delighted to pre-emptively lead their Series C as well. In a short time, the company continued to demonstrate consistent and thoughtful execution. Helping the company build out their team with executive team additions like their CFO and Chief Security Strategist roles was easy to do with the existing team onboard. Customer and follow-on investor introductions were easy win-wins as our belief in Attivo as the leader of the space gradually translated to reality with the largest company, the most customers and the deepest product portfolio. Every step of the way, this was a team that we enjoyed working with to re-define the company, their category (Deception to Identity), and now EDR with SentinelOne.

On behalf of the Forgepoint team, Alberto and I could not be more proud of this hardworking team for reaching this milestone. We are extremely excited about Attivo + SentinelOne’s future together and look forward to seeing this team reshape how our industry delivers effective detection and response.

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