CRN Exclusive: SentinelOne Lands Former Proofpoint Channel Chief To Lead Worldwide Channels

SentinelOne has landed a new executive to lead its push through partners, saying Wednesday that it has appointed former Proofpoint channel chief Dee Dee Acquista as its new head of worldwide channels.

Acquista will serve as vice president of worldwide channels at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based next-generation endpoint security startup. She officially started at the company last month.

At Proofpoint Acquista was vice president of global channels and helped grow the company's channel 200 percent after joining in 2013 to build out partner strategy. Prior to Proofpoint, she held channel roles at Websense and McAfee. She left Proofpoint as the company consolidated its North American channel teams.

[Related: Proofpoint's Global Channel Chief Departs As The Company Consolidates Channel Leadership]

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In an interview with CRN, Acquista said she had been talking to a number of organizations since leaving Proofpoint in January. She said she chose to move to SentinelOne because she wanted to keep working in security and saw a big opportunity around the next-generation endpoint security market.

"I have just come to love cybersecurity so much that I felt compelled to stay in the cybersecurity side. I was really impressed with the power of next-gen endpoint. I think many customers don’t know the problems that need to be solved. It just really spoke to me," Acquista said.

Acquista said she also was attracted to the opportunity to join a smaller company that is just starting out in the development of its partner community. She said she felt she had a "great run and accomplished what I set out to do" at Proofpoint.

"This was a real opportunity for me to come in and put my stamp on how to take SentinelOne's go-to-market strategy and really go out alongside the partner community at a very early stage," Acquista said. "I can't wait to get in there and dig in. It's great being in there from the ground up."

Kevin Pouche, chief operating officer at Brookline, Mass.-based K logix Security, said he is "thrilled" to see the addition of Acquista at SentinelOne, whom he worked with at both Proofpoint and Websense. He said Acquista is a "top-notch" channel chief with a "strong reputation for building repeatable go-to-market channel strategies."

"She is a leader with a vision similar to K logix, which is to align security with business goals to generate a positive impact. Her new space, next-generation endpoint security, is one of the most exciting spaces. … I think the fast-paced growth mode that [SentinelOne] is in will suit her well," Pouche said.

Acquista said she will look to build on the channel foundation in place at SentinelOne. The company already has a handful of partners in North America, she said, and has seen success with partners in Europe. Acquista said she will start by evaluating the program in place, but has already identified areas it can be enhanced by re-evaluating minimum tier thresholds, rolling out a learning management system, adding more sales and technical training, and allowing for proofs of concept via the partner portal.

Acquista said SentinelOne is planning to continue to invest in the channel throughout the rest of the year, including adding headcount. She said the direction coming down from top-level leadership is to drive a 100 percent channel focus, with a practice to look partners into the majority of deals.

SentinelOne has raised nearly $110 million in venture capital funding, with the latest round in January raising $70 million. Acquista said she thinks enhancing the company's partner strategy will be a key factor in SentinelOne continuing to grow in an increasingly competitive market for endpoint security.

"I'd really like for SentinelOne to look back in two years and say they wouldn't have been able to experience the explosive growth they will see without the help of our partners," Acquista said. "I don't think there is a winner in this space yet, and I think we're really poised to be one."