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Huntress Hits Hollywood: A Thriving Team of Threat Hunters Protecting the 99%

Tanya Loh

July 31, 2023

  • Blog Post

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to embed myself as a wannabe employee at Huntress, one of our portfolio companies with which Forgepoint has been privileged to partner since leading their Series A. Their Summer Kickoff ’23 in Los Angeles was quite a peek into the company’s mission, vision, values, approach and culture.

Picture that corner coffee shop, your favorite bodega or farmers market, independent boutique, mom and pop dry cleaner, or doctor or dentist with a private practice – any of the local businesses you support. Then there are the animal hospitals, schools, youth organizations, colleges and universities, city governments, fire departments, police departments, and even airports: the people and institutions that anchor your community and serve the public good. They’re grappling with labor shortages, inventory and supply chain issues, insurance, and other operational costs, juggling all it takes to look after their customers and constituents and run their organizations amid rising inflation as well as dramatic changes in consumer spending and human behavior thanks to COVID, social conditions, regulatory updates, and market downturns. Do they even have time to think about cybersecurity much less be adequately prepared for attacks? Not exactly, especially when roughly 8 of 10 are solo proprietors with no employees. The good news is that there is Huntress, a passionate, purpose-driven, and profoundly capable team here to help.

A vulnerable and viable market that needs help and protection

Small businesses account for over 99% of all US companies and with 61.7 million and counting, or close to half of all US employees. They make up 44% of US GDP and half of the $370 billion in overall tech spending. Yet small businesses are three times more likely to be targeted by cybercriminals than large companies and the total cost of cybercrimes is estimated to have reached $2.4 billion in 2021.

This is a big problem for a vast and vulnerable group that is waking up to the consequences which can be dire. 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of an attack. On the heels of their exciting Series C announcement, CEO Kyle Hanslovan and the awesome team at Huntress invited me to join their annual Summer Kickoff – this time in LA.

Huntress is out to serve SMBs with effective cybersecurity, whether as a direct provider of managed detection and response (MDR) or through MSPs and MSSPs who serve multiple customers. They’re succeeding at scale: as of April 2023, Huntress announced they are now protecting over 2 million endpoints and counting across roughly 100,000 organizations. With the troubling talent shortage in cyber, and the brutal reality of threat actors today in expanding their reach and using advanced tech like generative AI to more effectively target SMBs because they lack adequate protection, Huntress is stepping up to defend the vulnerable with its robust endpoint detection and response (EDR) platform, and team of threat hunters operating 24/7 to alert, educate and empower the community. As seen time and time again with major events like Kaseya, SolarWinds and MOVEit, they are typically among the first to sound the alarm on the latest cyber events and provide guidance on what to do.

City of All-Stars: the Takeover of La-La Land

Back to Summer Kickoff 2023, the annual gathering for Huntress’s 100% remote employee base (that’s right: no offices!) of 280+ defenders (and growing). This once per year opportunity unites the team across geographies and functions to immerse themselves across the business, forge deeper relationships, and hold those critical conversations that can surface new ideas, drive clarity, further collaboration, and support progress beyond day to day operations and chatter in Slack. It has taken me a minute to write this blog because there is so much to recap and rave about. Over three days and three nights in Hollywood, LA, Huntress delivered a combination of radical transparency, insightful dialog, personal stories, and rallying cries on

  • where the company is now and where it is heading, from 2023 revenue goals as it continues to double annual revenue (two years down, here we go!) to a taste of Monte Carlo simulations on what’s ahead longer term
    product, competitive, threat intel and community talks digging deep into roadmaps, opportunities and why empowering SMBs, MSPs and MSSPs is good and good for business because the right technology, threat intel and approach makes customer satisfaction, margin preservation and growth possible while maintaining peace of mind
  • customer and partner challenges and successes, reinforcing the why, why now, and how to succeed internally and externally – including the play by play on what it takes to launch market making and taking partnerships like Huntress MDR for M365
  • JUICY THREAT STORIES: you had to be there. Follow Huntress on LinkedIn, peep reddit, or watch John Hammond for the latest insights and developments
  • powerful tales of personal transformation from Huntress teammates, complemented by talks from experts on professional growth, and how to relate better in this often complicated and transactional world

I was especially impressed by the intentional effort to make the content inclusive and accessible. Not only did the program feature speakers with diverse roles and backgrounds, but the team made sure to define commonly used acronyms and approaches so that even the newest employee (or random guest like me) would understand. Rounding out the action-packed agenda was an afternoon volunteering for the nonprofit School on Wheels, which equips students experiencing homelessness with backpacks and STEM-related school supplies, and fun times that included an evening at the Laugh Factory, mindblowing moments at the Magic Castle, and a group takeover of Universal Studios.

Word to the Righteous: Right on and Onward!

If you’ve been in and around the startup world, you know there are companies that are truly onto something: not just because of their exceptional team and IP, groundbreaking approach, technical prowess, TAM, and timing but because they’ve managed to tap into a deeper sense of purpose – the intrinsic motivation that drives the team forward with such intense focus and commitment it will be no surprise when the extrinsic rewards follow. These standouts will quite simply figure it all out and have the heart, hustle, leadership, and wherewithal to get there. This is a company with a North Star so evident, it was palpable in every conversation – whether in the main ballroom, random hallway breaks and while buzzing about the social and entertainment activities designed to engage, bring together, and strengthen the already robust culture of these defenders on a mission.

What is that mission? To “Elevate SMBs through Community and Education—one hacker at a time.”

Kyle and Huntress: thanks for letting me crash your unforgettable kickoff. I was already a believer, but the whole affair blew me away. I can’t wait to see how the team will continue to deliver, protecting the 99% while spawning the next generation of cyber defenders out to help industry, society, and humanity thrive.