CRN Exclusive: Bugcrowd Lands Ex-ForeScout Channel Chief Todd DeBell, Launches Partner Offensive


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Bugcrowd has tapped former ForeScout executive Todd DeBell for a newly created global channel leadership position as the company looks to rapidly expand its business with partners.

The San Francisco-based crowdsourced security testing provider is looking to grow its channel business from less than 25 partners globally to accounting for between 80 percent and 90 percent of global revenue, DeBell told CRN exclusively. DeBell started April 9 as Bugcrowd's first-ever senior director of global channels and alliances.

"It's not just a 'me-too' situation," DeBell said. "This is a very different, new and exciting space."

[Related: The Bug Bounty Business: How Solution Providers Are Cashing In]

Bugcrowd has to date primarily leveraged channel partners for their relationships in the end-user community in a conventional buy-sell motion, DeBell said. But partners also have the opportunity to deliver margin-rich remediation services, helping clients take care of any issues on their applications or devices that were identified by security researchers during the vulnerability testing process.

Partners will also have the option of leveraging Bugcrowd's bench to deliver professional services around the crowdsourced vulnerability testing, according to DeBell. He said the opportunity around professional and remediation services appealed to the more than 25 domestic and international partners he spoke with during the RSA Conference in mid-April.

"It's a much-needed space," DeBell said. "It's an opportunity for partners to take advantage of."

DeBell has less than 10 direct reports today, but he expects the team to grow very rapidly over the next three to six months. He also hopes to strengthen bonds between the channel organization and Bugcrowd's inside sales team and technology alliance partners.

The experience at Bugcrowd should be similar to the five years DeBell spent as global channel chief of security management vendor FireMon. There, DeBell said he got to lay the groundwork, help the company grow from an earlier stage, and take advantage of lots of untapped opportunity in the market.

Conversely, by the time DeBell joined ForeScout in July 2016, the company was more of a known commodity with a proven track record of success and plans to go public. DeBell left ForeScout in December 2017 after spending 18 months as the company's vice president of worldwide channels.

DeBell said Bugcrowd's biggest differentiator is using the security researcher community to proactively get ahead of problems before a program or application goes into the wild. By identifying issues up front through crowdsourced security vulnerability testing, DeBell said channel partners can help clients maintain their reputation for quality work while saving them time and money in the process.

Although bug bounty programs are sometimes perceived as being competitive to services offered by solution providers, DeBell said similar offerings such as penetration testing have already been on the market for a while, with end users increasingly demanding proactive testing as part of any engagement.

"We're testing it just like it would be tested in the wild," DeBell said.

Bugcrowd has been on a tear as of late, raising $26 million in March as part of a Series C funding round led by asset management firm Triangle Peak Partners. All told, the company has raised $48.7 million in five rounds of outside equity since its founding less than six years ago.

Building a relationship with Bugcrowd over the past six months has made it easier for Nexum to penetrate to C-suite and have more business-level conversations with CIOs and CISOs, according to David Lesser, president and CEO of the Chicago-based company, No. 215 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500.       

The biggest opportunity with Bugcrowd is around larger organizations in verticals such as financial services or insurance that have cash to spend, Lesser said. Any customer with large portals or public-facing reservation systems would particularly benefit from Bugcrowd's offering, according to Lesser.

Lesser has worked with DeBell for the past 15 years, and said he's always been impressed by DeBell's ability to bring passion and creativity together and create unique programs for the channel. Lesser hopes DeBell focuses on building a channel program at Bugcrowd that commands integrity with a locked and solid deal registration process.

"Todd [DeBell] is relentless in being an advocate for the channel," Lesser said. "Bugcrowd is a people business, and Todd's best attribute is dealing with people."    

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