With a new CEO and executive leadership hire, cybersecurity startup NexDefense is ready to scale their company partnerships and client base. At the helm of this new initiative? Technology veteran Jeff Spence.
Spence will use his strong background in startup growth, venture funding, and M&A to develop strategic partnerships in the industrial systems sector. These will align the company with already-established vendors and providers in the industrial space, which will help them both scale and sell their product.
NexDefense‘s software platform, Sophia, provides industrial control systems — the networks that control manufacturing plants, transportation infrastructure, logistical systems and more — with real-time visibility of all network traffic within their network.
Spence says these industries are a forgotten side of the cybersecurity field. Whereas the IT space has countless vendors and software products, the protection of these systems against hackers is only served by a handful of providers. NexDefense is one of the few U.S.-based companies.
“The industrial section of all cybersecurity has been out there on its own to fend for themselves, while the IT side has been really developed by hundreds of different providers,” says Spence. “This is an opportunity to come in and be a leader in a new market segment that’s growing exceptionally fast.”
Spence says they have seen great success in the power generation, manufacturing, speciality chemicals, and oil and gas industries thus far. He also intends to scale the client base in critical infrastructure, municipal defense, and building systems.
“What’s good about [the industrial business] is that there are existing integration partners, consulting and services providers, who are on the ground working with our customer prospects. Its really about aligning ourselves with people who already know the systems,” Spence says.
Spence says the company will probably seek another round of financing in late 2017, but the amount and exact timing will depend on how much they grow in the first part of the year.
“If we need to consume more capital on our side, it’s not because we didn’t sell,” Spence says. “If we get quicker penetration, even with existing customers who want to integrate more quickly, that really begins to stretch at an unhealthy level how fast we need to respond. That would not only shorten the timeline we need to get capital, but also probably increase the ask.”
Spence says NexDefense is building out its engineering, sales, and support teams, doubling the company size — currently at 15 — over the next few months. Originally founded in Silicon Valley, the company will continue to be based in Atlanta, specifically at the Atlanta Tech Village, for the foreseeable future. “Very few metro areas have the same kind of security talent that Atlanta has,” Spence says.
NexDefense has also added Matt Morris, formerly Global Head of IoT and Industrial Cyber Security at Cisco Systems, as Vice President of Product and Strategy.