By Peter High, published on Forbes
Last week, CrowdStrike, a cloud-based security company headquartered in Irvine, California raised $100MM in a series D, led by Accel Partners. With this injection of funds, the company has reached “unicorn” status as a venture funded company with a valuation over $1 billion. In a post on Medium, Sameer Gandhi, a partner at Accel, noted, “Crowdstrike has more than tripled the growth of its total billings year-over-year. [CEO and co-founder] George [Kurtz], [CTO and co-founder] Dimitri [Alperovich] and team have accomplished quite a lot in just a few years. The team’s vision, product excellence and overall execution is what inspired us to lead the company’s Series D.”
In recent days, inquiries for CrowdStrike’s services have increased dramatically in the wake of the WannaCry ransomware attack. Previously, the company received great attention for identifying the hackers behind the Democratic National Committee data breach prior to the American election in 2016. Kurtz has noted, “That work raised our profile considerably, solving a high profile problem, separating us from a crowded field in the security space.” CrowdStrike now counts more than ten percent of the Fortune 1000 among its clients.
A serial entrepreneur, Kurtz founded worldwide security products and services company Foundstone in late 1999. The company developed a leading incident response practice, and was acquired by McAfee in 2004. He would rise to the role of Worldwide Chief Technology Officer of McAfee.
While there, he grew frustrated by the antiquated technology at the company that, as Kurtz recalls, “felt more like Siebel when I wanted to develop something that felt more like Salesforce.” He left the company to co-found CrowdStrike in 2012, developing the next generation anti-virus powered by artificial intelligence.
At a recent interview on stage at the Forbes CIO Summit at Half Moon Bay, California, I asked Kurtz for some recommendations on how executives can safeguard their enterprises, and he offered the following advice