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Awake Security Raises $36 Million To Build Channel Program

The cybersecurity startup wants to go from driving less than 20 percent of its business through the channel today to having between 85 percent and 90 percent of its business come from the channel, according to CEO Rahul Kashyap.

Awake Security has closed a $36 million Series C round to expand its coverage model by developing a go-to-market program for solution providers.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based cybersecurity startup said it’s looking to evolve from working with channel partners tactically on a deal-by-deal basis to developing tight relationships with the top networking and security solution providers in North America and Europe, according to Awake Security CEO Rahul Kashyap.

“Given the current situation, I think the channel is more relevant than ever,” Kashyap told CRN. “The channel will help us amplify our reach and grow.”

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Awake Security wants to go from driving less than 20 percent of its business through the channel today to having between 85 percent and 90 percent of its business come from the channel, Kashyap said. With the additional funding, the company plans to quadruple its sales engagement resources for the channel as well as boost channel marketing dollars and roll out a detailed partner program, Kashyap said.

The company tapped Evolution Equity Partners and Liberty Global Ventures to lead and participate in the funding round, respectively, due to their deep ties to the channel, particularly in Europe. Awake Security today has more than three dozen registered channel partners – including six in Europe – and hopes to be working with more than 100 solution providers by the fourth quarter of this year, he said.

Awake Security wants to work with solution providers that have a deep understanding of the network and security spaces as well as reach into a good mix of enterprise customers, according to Kashyap. The company plans to launch a partner training program after signing its first wave of new solution providers to familiarize the channel with Awake Security’s advanced network traffic analysis technology.

The channel is expected to play a vital role in helping Awake Security grow its client base from 70 customers today to double or triple that amount a year from now, Kashyap said. Solution providers will also be integral in Awake Security expanding its non-United States business from just 5 percent today to between 10 percent and 15 percent by the end of the current fiscal year, according to Kashyap.

The budget and customer reach offered by solution providers will strengthen Awake Security’s efforts to displace existing vendors, Kashyap said. As the world hunkers down due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kashyap said it’s a good time for Awake Security to build, grow and mature its channel program.

“We’re super-excited about this funding round,” Kashyap said. “We are committed to the channel, and we’re looking at a fair amount of growth.”

Consortium Networks has been an Awake Security partner for three months, and customers appreciate having another layer of security between the perimeter and the endpoint that’s capable of generating sophisticated alerts from east-west traffic, according to Larry Pfiefer, founder of the Medford, N.J.-based solution provider.

“We’ve done a couple of deals with them, and customers love it,” Pfiefer told CRN. “We really like their model.”

The marketing and channel program for Awake Security aren’t very mature yet, and Pfiefer said the lack of name recognition for the company typically elongates the sales cycle. Customers who have Awake Security demonstrated for them tend to recognize the uniqueness of it, but a lack of familiarity with the company means that partners must have more conversations before customers are willing to commit.

“They’ve grown light years from where they were, but I would love to see the brand get a little more reputation so that it’s an easier conversation to have with customers,” Pfiefer said.

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