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5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Jan. 8, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel.

The Week Ending Jan. 8

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is Proofpoint for hiring channel superstar Joe Sykora to be its first global channel chief.

Also making the list are AI chip startup Tenstorrent and wireless edge networking vendor Cradlepoint for their own savvy hires. Also making this week’s list is Red Hat for a key acquisition in the Kubernetes security space. And cloud security vendor iBoss is here for closing a blockbuster funding round.


Proofpoint Hires Channel Veteran Joe Sykora To Lead Partner Efforts

Email security tech developer Proofpoint scored a big win when it hired Joe Sykora, the well-respected former channel executive at Fortinet and Bitdefender, to be its first-ever global channel chief.

Sykora left Bitdefender in September for a position with another company, but it was not disclosed at the time where he was going. He began work at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Proofpoint in December and Sykora disclosed the news of his hire late last week.

Sykora served as channel chief at Bitdefender for nearly three years where he built the company’s global channel program and led channel operations that generated $100 million in annual revenue, with partners driving 60 percent of the company’s deals.

Before Bitdefender Sykora worked at Fortinet for seven and a half years where he was responsible for the company’s inside sales teams, distribution teams, reseller engagements and enhanced technologies groups in the Americas.


AI Chip Startup Tenstorrent Hires Chip Design Legend Jim Keller

Speaking of blockbuster hires, Tenstorrent, a rising startup in AI chip technology, scored its own big win in the personnel department this week when it hired chip design rock star Jim Keller as the Toronto company’s president and CTO.

In his new role Keller will be in charge of making Tenstorrent’s Grayskull processor the premier system for software that utilizes machine learning.

Keller’s move to take the Tenstorrent job comes a little more than six months after he abruptly resigned from Intel in June 2020 where he was the company’s top chip design executive. At the time Keller cited personal reasons for stepping away as senior vice president of Intel’s Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group.

Keller’s departure was seen as a blow to Intel, which was relying on his deep technical expertise to design next-processor technologies at a time when the company is under increased competitive pressure from AMD and other semiconductor rivals. Keller had worked at Intel for two years after he was hired away from AMD where he worked previously.


Former Cisco Exec Steve Benvenuto Tapped To Lead Cradlepoint Channel

And completing a trifecta of hiring wins this week is Cradlepoint, the channel-led wireless edge networking tech developer, for hiring longtime Cisco Systems channel leader Steve Benvenuto as its new Americas channel chief.

Benvenuto worked at Cisco for 21 years, finishing up his career at the company by serving for four years as senior director, global security partner sales. Prior to that he was senior director, sales and business development, of Cisco’s Cloud Partner Transformation unit for six years.

Benvenuto left Cisco in October when he took the company up on the early retirement packages the vendor was offering to executives. But as one Cradlepoint channel partner executive put it: “You can’t keep great talent on the bench for long.”


Red Hat To Bolster Kubernetes Security Capabilities With StackRox Acquisition

Open-source software powerhouse Red Hat made a critical acquisition this week when it struck a deal to buy StackRox, a developer of container and Kubernetes-native security that Red Hat will use to bolster the security capabilities of the Red Hat OpenShift hybrid cloud platform.

The acquisition comes as the adoption of container technology in general—and Kubernetes in particular—is accelerating within enterprise IT environments.

But concerns remain about securing Kubernetes workloads and infrastructure. And IT managers are on edge about security overall in light of the recent massive security attack on government agencies and IT vendors. Red Hat’s acquisition to help customers lock down Kubernetes systems is a savvy move.



Cloud Security Vendor Iboss Raises $145M To Grow Its SASE Model

Iboss, a developer of Secure Access Service Edge cybersecurity software, closed a $145 million funding round this week that the company said it will use to support its rapid growth.

The Boston-based company, founded in 2003, recently hired Cylance global channel executive May Mitchell to serve as its senior vice president of marketing.

Also scoring a win in venture funding this week was big data startup Starburst Data, based in Boston, which announced $100 million in Series C financing. That boosted the company’s market capitalization to $1.2 billion.



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