Exabeam Snags Ex-Forescout Exec Michael DeCesare As CEO

Michael DeCesare will replace Exabeam co-founder and CEO Nir Polak, who will remain with the company as chairman of the board. Exabeam also announced $200 million of funding on a $2.4 billion valuation.


Exabeam has brought in former Forescout CEO Michael DeCesare to lead the company as the security analytics and automation vendor notched a $2.4 billion valuation.

The Foster City, Calif.-based Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) provider tapped DeCesare to replace co-founder and first CEO Nir Polak, who will remain with Exabeam as chairman of the board. Exabeam also announced a $200 million Series F funding round led by the Owl Rock division of Blue Own Capital, and promoted Chief Product Officer Adam Geller to also lead the engineering team.

“Nir has built an incredibly robust, diverse and inclusive culture at Exabeam, and I am committed to helping it flourish,” said DeCesare, who started Tuesday as Exabeam’s president and CEO, in a statement. “I’m thrilled to join Nir, Adam and the whole leadership team to help drive the company through its next phase of growth.” DeCesare wasn’t immediately available for additional comment.

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[Related: SIEM Vendor Exabeam Raises $75 Million To Take Share From Competitors]

DeCesare joined IoT security vendor Forescout as CEO in February 2015 after four years as president of platform security vendor McAfee, which was owned by Intel at the time. He raised $80 million in a January 2016 Series G funding round, and brought in an additional $116 million through an October 2017 Nasdaq initial public offering (IPO) that valued Forescout at $800 million.

But DeCesare’s final year with Forescout proved to be more challenging. He agreed in February 2020 to sell Forescout to private equity firm Advent International for $1.9 billion in February 2020, but the two sides ended up in court after Advent attempted to walk away from the acquisition in May.

Just five days before the Forescout-Advent trial was scheduled to begin, the two sides settled and agreed to move forward with the deal after Forescout’s purchase price was lowered by $500 million. And mere weeks after Advent’s acquisition closed, DeCesare was replaced as Forescout CEO by former Symantec CEO Greg Clark. Trend Micro leader Wael Mohamed has since taken over as CEO of Forescout.

“With Mike [DeCesare] at the helm and Adam’s leadership over product and engineering, we have assembled a seasoned executive team ready to scale and take our business to the next level,” Polak said in a statement.

Polak co-founded Exabeam in 2013, and the company today employs 600 people, up 12 percent from 537 employees a year earlier, according to LinkedIn. Exabeam has now raised $390 million in six rounds of outside funding, with Tuesday’s Series F funding coming two years after the company closed a $75 million Series E round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sapphire Ventures.

Since its founding, Exabeam has helped define the user entity and behavioral analytics (UEBA) category, and its next-gen approach to SIEM challenged incumbents like Splunk, LogRhythm and QRadar (which is part of IBM). More recently, Exabeam moved into the extended detection and response (XDR) space with automation and use case-specific content that helps security analysts defend against threats.

Exabeam was in the headlines last year after four of its employees who attended RSA Conference 2020 tested positive for coronavirus a week or two after the massive event, with Senior Security Engineer Chris Tillett requiring hospitalization and spending roughly two weeks in an induced coma before recovering.

From a go-to-market perspective, Exabeam said it has made significant investments in its partner program over the last 12 months, which now included more than 400 reseller, distributor, systems integrator, MSSP, MDR and consulting partners globally. Exabeam also has more than 500 technology integrations with cloud network, data lake and endpoint vendors like CrowdStrike, Okta and Snowflake.

“Exabeam is poised to be the next-gen leader in the cloud security analytics, XDR and SIEM markets,” Pravin Vazirani, Blue Owl Capital’s managing director and co-head of tech investing, said in a statement. “We led this round of funding to provide the company with the resources necessary to support its sustainable, long-term growth and value creation.”