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Human Security Acquires Startup Known For Anti-‘Malvertising’ Solutions

Jay Fitzgerald

The takeover of Clean.io comes three months after Human’s merger with security firm PerimeterX

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Three months after merging with PerimeterX, cybersecurity firm Human Security has announced its acquisition of a Baltimore-based startup known for anti-‘malvertising’ technology designed to combat viruses inserted into online advertisements.

New York-based Human Security, whose solutions are used to protect enterprises and internet platforms from sophisticated bot attacks, fraud, and account abuse, closed on its takeover of Clean.io earlier this week, Human co-founder and CEO Tamer Hassan told CRN. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The takeover of the 25-employee Clean.io will grow Human Security’s payroll to nearly 500 workers and likely boost its pre-merger ARR of more than $100 million.

Besides its anti-malvertizing products, Clean.io also produced technology designed to fight e-commerce fraud.

But it was clearly the firm’s malvertising expertise that attracted Human Security’s attention – and the fact that the digital advertising market globally has been pegged at $500 million, said Hassan.

“Clean.io is the market leader in malvertising,” Hassan told CRN. “When we think about M&A, we focus primarily on great technology and great teams. That’s what drew us and got us excited about Clean.io.”

In a press release, Clean.io co-founder and CEO Geoff Stupay, who will serve as vice president of media strategy at Human Security, said the need to take on cybercriminals has never been greater.

 “Since our founding in 2017, clean.io’s mission has been to put an end to malicious code and to protect the customer experience, revenue and brand from the latest threats,” he said. “To that end, we are thrilled to be joining forces with (Human Security). Our combined lens, telemetry and mitigation across the ecosystem will deliver the most effective and comprehensive protection for our combined customers.”

The acquisition of Clean.io comes shortly after Human Security merged with PerimeterX, a San Mateo, Calif.-based company focused on protecting web apps from account takeover and automated fraud. Terms of that deal were also not disclosed.

The Clean.io technology also comes 10 months after Human Security, founded in 2012, announced a $100 million growth funding round led by WestCap, with additional investments from NightDragon and other investors.

As for Human Security’s growth plans moving forward, Hassan told CRN that the goal is to scale up business in the U.S. and overseas, “especially in Asia.”

Currently, only about 10 percent of the firm’s business is generated via the channel, but Hassan said he wants to grow that number.

“Over the next couple of years, I’d like to see our channel account for a third of all revenue,” he said. “We just started investing in the channel this year and it’s one of our areas of growth.”

The company currently has about six employees dedicated to the channel – and that number will likely grow as the firm focuses on international sales, Hassan said.

Asked where he saw the company going in five years, Hassan responded: “Great question. Certainly, we are watching the public markets and how that will evolve. The North Star for the company over the next three years is what does an IPO look like for us. As a company, we have some really strong financial numbers and a great addressable market.”

He added the company’s target market is large enterprises, though the firm is moving “more into the mid-market.” He said there’s no plan to pursue the SMB market this year, but didn’t rule out eventual expansion in that market segment. 

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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