smiling group of NightDragon employees

Announcing a New Fund to Advance Security from Silicon to Satellite

When I was wrapping up my time as CEO, I began thinking through what came next. I had been lucky enough to be CEO of some of the most amazing companies for 15 years, including FireEye, McAfee and Documentum, and I knew it was time for a new chapter.

I looked to what was happening in the cybersecurity threat landscape and the drastic gap between offense and defense, created by a perfect storm of factors coming together against a rapidly changing technology landscape. I decided to make it my life’s work to build a platform to help solve this challenge. That’s how NightDragon was born.

The Beginning

The seeds of the NightDragon platform began after I left McAfee in 2012, where NightDragon I and II made 17 investments and advisories over five years. The first vehicle yielded over $25B in net shareholder returns and the second vehicle 3x returns. When I left FireEye in 2017, we began to double down.

I was joined on this mission in 2018 by two of the most experienced people I have worked with: Ken Gonzalez and Morgan Kyauk. Ken joined as Managing Director, bringing 20+ years of senior operating experience, including leading strategy and corporate development for Siebel Systems (Oracle), McAfee, Avast and FireEye. As Partner, Morgan brings a wealth of experience leading M&A transactions for companies of all sizes, including leading corporate development at FireEye, Dropbox, Juniper Networks and HP.

Now, one year after first launching our first public fund, NightDragon Growth I, we are announcing we have closed it at $750 million, which will invest in and advise late-stage growth companies in the cybersecurity, safety, security and privacy industry. The fund will aim to advance the industry and close the gap between offense and defense across all aspects of technology from silicon to satellite.

A New Type of Venture Capital

Today’s challenges require more than just technology — we also need healthy, scalable businesses. I’ve seen first-hand how many startups fail trying to adapt to this rapidly changing environment or cannot effectively grow go-to-market, ultimately meaning they cannot deliver the benefits they promise. We knew this had to be part of the charter of NightDragon if we were to truly make an impact.

Our answer is the NightDragon Platform, which brings together the programs, partnerships, playbooks and people to help our companies succeed. This includes the brightest minds in the CSSP market on technology, go-to-market, government and more, as well as dedicated programs like ND Talent, ND Government Services and ND Go-to-Market that put agreements in place to support our portfolio companies and guide them as they grow. We also partner closely with our peers in the industry, including early-stage investors, private equity, M&A firms and more, and provide our portfolio companies with exclusive Playbooks for success. These are the things we wished we had as operators, and we also see time and time again as gaps that inhibit a company’s ability to scale.

Supporting these efforts is an expanded NightDragon team, including CFO Steve Simonian, Associate Hannah Huffman, Associate Evan Gibney, Head of Marketing and Communications Sarah Kuranda, VP of Business Development and Strategic Alliances Amy de Salvatore, Head of Government Affairs Katherine Gronberg and VP Finance Tony Chow. We have also brought on an amazing set of advisors, including Former NSA Director Michael Rogers, former Commander of the U.K. Joint Forces Command Sir Chris Deverell, former Commander of Israeli Defense Forces Unit 8200 Nadav Zafrir, former Optiv CEO Dan Burns, former NTT Security CEO Matt Gyde, KKR Senior Advisor Kara Wilson, and more.

A Critical Juncture

The time for this fund could not be more important. Attacks this year on SolarWinds, FireEye, the Colonial Pipeline, Microsoft Exchange, JBS, Kaseya — just to name a few — have opened our eyes wide to the vast amount of risk we are exposed to, and how few ways we have to defend ourselves. Not to mention the risk that is on the horizon from emerging and growing areas like IoT, 5G, social media, satellite connectivity, data collection and more.

The announcement of NightDragon’s new $750 million fund is just the first step and a piece of something much bigger. We recognize that such a big problem requires a collective community to support startups across their entire lifecycle. Many of these elements are already in place today, thanks to our relationships with organizations like DataTribe, AllegisCyber Capital, Team8, YL Ventures, NightDragon Acquisition Corp. and Momentum Cyber. We are proud to align ourselves with these partners, but we are also excited to see this ecosystem grow.

In short, today is an exciting day for the NightDragon team, our portfolio and our network. But it is also just the beginning. Stay tuned for more from this team in the coming months — we aren’t stopping here!