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Cybersecurity Startup Twingate To Boost Channel After Raising $42M

Jay Fitzgerald

‘We think there’s a huge opportunity to work with channel members to help them solve the security problems of their clients,’ says CEO Tony Huie.

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Cybersecurity startup Twingate plans to spend a large chunk of its latest multimillion-dollar funding round to expand its global channel partnerships and boost sales of its Zero Trust security product that it hopes will one day eliminate the need for VPNs.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based Twingate, which was founded in 2019, announced earlier today that has raised $42 million in series B funding, with the round led by BOND Capital and with participation from existing investors WndrCo, 8VC, and SignalFire. The latest investment brings Twingate’s total funding to $67 million and raises the company’s value to $400 million, according to company officials.

Twingate will use the money to continue growing its product and engineering teams and launch operations in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

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But Twingate chief executive and co-founder Tony Huie, in an interview with CRN, said his firm will also use the latest funds to aggressively grow its channel partnerships, both in the U.S. and overseas.

“We’re going to make a big investment to really build out our capabilities on the channel side,” he said. “We think there’s a huge opportunity to work with channel members to help them solve the security problems of their clients. … We think the channel is a fantastic community of players to work with.”

When Twingate began to officially make its Zero Trust network-access security product available in late 2020, the company initially employed an open, direct-sales approach to getting its product into the hands of users.

“We said, ‘Anyone in the world, you can come to Twingate and just sign up and use it,’” Huie said. “But what we also found is there’s a lot of folks in the channel who were really interested in our product.”

So Twingate started working with MSPs and other channel players. The firm recently hired two employees who will be “dedicated 100 percent to the channel,” said Huie.

The firm now plans to add more members to its channel team, though Huie wouldn’t give specific numbers.

Currently, channel sales represent only 5 percent of Twingate’s total revenue, which the firm wouldn’t disclose. The goal is to grow channel sales to 10 percent of Twingate’s revenue this year, Huie said.

The company didn’t disclose how many customers it has worldwide, but it did say in a statement that some of its better-known customers include Bitpanda, Blend, Bloomreach, Cameo, Hippo, and KeepTruckin.

Asked if he thought channel sales could grow to a third of Twingate’s overall revenues within three years, Huie said such a target is “definitely not out of the question.”

Huie said Twingate’s immediate goal is to provide end-users with network-security access that’s ”better, faster, cheaper and more effective” than other products currently on the market, including VPNs, which he described as too complex, expensive and ineffective,

“VPN is pretty old-school technology, but it’s still the predominant way that a lot of folks get security access,” said Huie. “What’s interesting about that market is that everyone who touches the VPN ends up hating it. Users hate it. IT folks don’t like managing it. If you’re an MSP dealing with your clients, you hate wrangling with the VPN.”

Huie said his firm’s Zero Trust product will remove the “usability problems” associated with other security-access offerings. The surge in security breaches in recent years prove that legacy security models that are reliant on passwords and VPNs are in “dire need of updating,” the company said in a statement.

Besides building up Twingate’s in-house channel team, Huie said the firm is launching two initiatives to make its product more appealing to MSPs and resellers.

The first will provide free licenses for MSPs and other channel players to internally use and test Twingate’s Zero Trust security product.

The second initiative involves financially helping channel players get out of current contracts with other security vendors.

“We’ll work with them on economic contract buyouts” that will “put them in the position so they can make transitions faster and make it economically neutral for them,” Huie said.

Jay Simons, general partner at BOND Capital and the former president of Atlassian, said in a statement that Twingate brings a “contemporary approach” to cybersecurity.

“Whether you have 10 or 10,000 employees, Twingate makes it easy for security teams to implement solutions that end-users will embrace,” he said. “It‘s rare to find an enterprise security solution provider with both deep technical expertise and a product with consumer-grade usability designed for modern users. I’m looking forward to working alongside the Twingate team to advance the adoption of Zero Trust in enterprises worldwide.”

Sujay Jaswa, co-founder and managing partner of WndrCo, said Twingate is clearly zeroing in on a major need in the IT world.

“The company‘s rapid growth in just over a year since launch proves that businesses of all sizes are hungry for security solutions that are easy to implement and seamless for employees,” he said.

“We are ecstatic to be able to continue the journey with Tony and team as they scale the company to meet the security needs of organizations all over the world.“

Learn More: Cybersecurity
Jay Fitzgerald

Jay Fitzgerald is a senior editor covering cybersecurity for CRN. Jay previously freelanced for the Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, Boston magazine, Banker & Tradesman, MassterList.com, Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge, the National Bureau of Economic Research and other entities. He can be reached at jfitzgerald@thechannelcompany.com.

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