Duo Sales Leader Departs For Startup Following Cisco Acquisition Bid


The man responsible for building Duo Security's Americas sales organization from the ground up has decamped for a startup following the proposed sale of Duo to Cisco.

Luminate Security has reeled in sales leader Jason Stutt to serve as its first-ever senior vice president of global sales and help the early-stage startup scale its operations in North America. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor has tasked Stutt with building a general sales coverage model and building a foundation from an operational perspective.

"I'm bursting with excitement," said Stutt, who started at Luminate Monday. "To be successful, we have to win the North American market."

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Stutt's last day at Duo Security was Aug. 3, or a day after the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based cybersecurity vendor announced it was going to be acquired by San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco for $2.35 billion. Stutt said he wasn't aware of the impending Cisco-Duo deal when he decided to leave the company since the acquisition plans were kept tightly under wraps until the formal announcement.

However, Stutt said the natural stress of preparing for a potential IPO and more frequent reporting to the board resulted in some stress cracks at the edge for Duo, effecting how different departments communicated, delivered and held one another accountable. Overall, though, Stutt said he very much enjoyed his three years at Duo. Duo and Cisco didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

During Stutt's time as Duo's vice president of Americas sales, the company grew its sales to commercial, higher education and federal customers from just $3 million to more than $75 million, with Stutt expanding Duo's sales team from only two people to some 65 employees. Stutt faces a similar challenge at Luminate Security, which has until now had the sales team reporting to CEO Ofer Smadari.

Coming out of the gate, Stutt said he plans to focus on learning more about Luminate's product, customer experience, and the competitive landscape at a detailed level. In addition to getting closer to customers, Stutt said he plans to scale Luminate's sales team by putting the right foundation in place and attracting people that will generate more leads and opportunities.

Luminate's platform provides secure access to corporate applications in hybrid cloud environments. The company was founded in January 2017, and received $14 million in Series A funding in a March 2018 round led by Aleph and U.S. Venture Partners. Stutt said he didn't have insight into the extent of Luminate's annual sales.

Right now, Stutt said Luminate has a couple of account executives running around the entire country. Stutt said he plans to put a general geographic coverage model in place from the outset and identity local resources and solution engineers that can be with the Luminate sales managers and participate in company meetings.

Stutt also wants to set the right foundation from an operational perspective to ensure that Luminate has good data and systems in place to support forecasting and other key corporate functions going forward. He also wants to identify what market segments and applications Luminate should focus on, as well as get a better sense of whether or not what the company is pitching is reasonable.

All of Stutt's efforts will be centered around North America to start, given that – unlike Luminate's Israeli-based founders – he will be working out of the United States on a daily and weekly basis. From a market perspective, Stutt said he plans to focus on the upper mid-market and lower enterprise from the outset, or businesses with between roughly 1,000 and 10,000 employees.

Focusing on this market segment will allow Luminate to support a large volume of deals that are of a decent size without typically getting into the complexity of heavy, multi-national companies. Over time, Stutt hopes to get into the large enterprise by proving Luminate can handle their existing client base, as well as go down-market by identifying automation opportunities and operational efficiencies.