Huntress Lands $60M, Eyes Potential IPO In Coming Years
While it’s not guaranteed that the SMB-focused managed cybersecurity vendor will ultimately seek to go public, ‘there’s not very many companies large enough now to acquire us,’ CEO Kyle Hanslovan told CRN.
Huntress announced Tuesday it has raised $60 million in funding to continue the partner-driven expansion of its managed cybersecurity platform and, potentially, help lay the groundwork for an initial public offering in several years.
In an interview with CRN, Huntress Co-Founder and CEO Kyle Hanslovan said that with the new Series C round, he is now comfortable enough “to forecast we’re going to be a public company, or at least [an acquisition] of consequence.”
“There’s not very many companies large enough now to acquire us,” Hanslovan said, noting that the company receives acquisition offers roughly once a month.
[Related: Huntress CEO On 2023 Cybersecurity Trends, Vendor Claims And Curricula Plans]
Hanslovan specified that an IPO for Huntress likely wouldn’t happen until mid-2025 at the earliest, if the fast-growing company does in fact decide to go that route. “I’m not saying that we’re planning or targeting that date,” he said.
However, more than two years ago, the company began preparations to potentially become a publicly traded company in the future, Hanslovan said — and “it usually takes a good company like four years to get ready to go public.”
“I’m all about readiness, and optionality — like, give me the option to do it,” he said.
While Ellicott City, Md.-based Huntress did not disclose specific revenue figures, the company told CRN that its revenue grew, year-over-year, by 102 percent in 2022 and 125 percent in 2021.
Focus On SMBs And Partners
With a focus on bringing managed security to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) — which are often under-served when it comes to cybersecurity tools — Huntress reports that it now has nearly 100,000 customers and works with more than 4,000 partners.
Huntress has built a strong “fan base” of partners, including managed service providers (MSPs) and managed security service providers (MSSPs), Hanslovan said. Partners appreciate how the company takes care of much of the “heavy lifting” on cybersecurity at a price point that still enables their profitability, he said.
One such partner is Tech-Keys, a Howell, N.J.-based MSP that has been working with Huntress over the past two years. The MSP has made the Huntress platform mandatory for all of its customers’ endpoints, according to James Vujicic, COO at Tech-Keys.
By handing over much of the work of security monitoring to Huntress, that has allowed the company to “focus on what we’re great at,” Vujicic said.
The Huntress product is easy to deploy and integrates well with other key MSP tools, such as remote monitoring and management, he said. Huntress has also stood out by taking in partner feedback and making product improvements “very quickly” in response, Vujicic said.
“With other vendors, we always felt lost in the shuffle. We felt like we weren’t listened to,” he said. “With Huntress, when we bring things up, they listen and they make those changes.”
Protecting Microsoft 365
Case in point: Tech-Keys was among the MSP partners that had been urging Huntress to expand its managed detection and response (MDR) platform to also cover Microsoft 365, in addition to endpoints.
In April, in connection with RSA Conference 2023, Huntress announced the debut of MDR protection for Microsoft 365 — an offering that includes monitoring of Active Directory activity and detection for identity compromise, along with 24/7 analysis and remediation by human operators.
Huntress’ ability to cover Microsoft 365 will prove to be “super critical,” at a time of widespread phishing attacks delivered via cloud-based email, as well as attacks targeting SharePoint and OneDrive, Vujicic said.
“With a lot of our clients, we’re pushing them in the direction of the cloud, and using services like SharePoint and OneDrive,” he said. “So we need to be able to protect any Microsoft 365 products that are cloud-based.”
Hanslovan said the expansion by Huntress to cover Microsoft 365 with its MDR platform is indeed a sign of how “our partners really shape our entire roadmap.”
Crucially, the whole idea with offering a security platform, he said, is that it’s not meant to consist of “separate products that work as their own little silos.”
“It’s supposed to be truly a fully managed security platform,” Hanslovan said.
Huntress plans to continue enhancing its platform — which also includes security awareness training through last year’s acquisition of Curricula — with the new funding round.
The $60 million Series C round was led by Sapphire Ventures and included investments from Forgepoint Capital and JMI Equity. The new round brings Huntress’ total equity funding to $118 million since its founding in 2015.