Malwarebytes Plans Massive MSP Program Growth After $100M Investment

Cybersecurity vendor laid off 125 workers last month, but now plans to double the size of its channel team over the next year, firm’s channel chief says.


Brian Thomas, vice president of MSP and channel programs at Malwarebytes

A month after laying off 125 employees, Malwarebytes is talking about hiring again after receiving a $100 million investment that the security vendor plans to use to massively expand its MSP partnership program.

San Francisco-based Vector Capital earlier this week announced it was making the minority $100 million investment to, among other things, promote Malwarebytes’ product innovation and consolidate its ownership structure.

But the investment firm also said the funding will be used to scale the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Malwarebytes’ international channel partner program and its rapidly growing MSP business.

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And that could lead to a doubling of Malwarebytes’ internal MSP channel team to 150 employees within a year, from its current 75 members, Brian Thomas, vice president of the firm’s MSP and channel programs, told CRN.

It could also mean expanding the number of the firm’s global MSP partners from 2,700 today to 10,000 within the next few years, Thomas said.

The overall goal: to more aggressively pursue the SMB market by creating additional MSP partnerships.

“The investment of Vector Capital is really doubling down on where we know we win,” said Thomas. “It’s really a recalibration of where our go-to-market strategy is heading. … The path forward with the Vector backing is all about MSP-channel and SMB.”

Thomas, who joined Malwarebytes late last year, said his “mission” is to grow the firm’s MSP business from today’s $19 million in revenue to $100 million over the next few years.

In the process, the 900-employee company, which was founded in 2008, is hoping to increase the percentage of its overall revenues coming via the channel.

Currently, about 25 to 30 percent of overall sales are generated from channel sales, but Malwarebytes is hoping to increase that figure to 70 to 80 percent over the next three to four years, said Thomas. Malwarebytes didn’t disclose its overall revenue figure.

The Vector Capital investment comes just a month after Malwarebytes, provider of antivirus, endpoint and other security products and services, laid off 14 percent of its staff, or about 125 employees.

At the time, the company cited the need for a “strategic reorganization” that included a renewed emphasis on its channel business.

Thomas said that “strategic reorganization” and Vector Capital’s investment are indeed linked.

“(It) very clearly is what is going on here,” he said. “It’s a refocusing of our go-to-market strategy.”

This is Vector Capital’s second major cybersecurity investment in five months. Earlier this year, it acquired WatchGuard Technologies for an undisclosed sum.

Vector Capital describes itself as a private-equity firm “specializing in transformational investments in established technology businesses.”

In a press release, Marcin Kleczynski, co-founder and CEO of Malwarebytes, said Vector Capital is a good fit for his company.

“Vector Capital shares our mission to protect those most vulnerable to cyberattacks through cutting-edge technologies and the power of community,” Kleczynski said. “We believe Vector Capital’s collaborative approach and proven ability to help build global software businesses make them ideal partners in our ongoing efforts to build a safer digital world.”

In a press release, Dave Fishman, managing director and head of the private equity team at Vector Capital, agreed his firm and Malwarebytes will make for a good fit.

“Malwarebytes represents exactly the kind of transformational opportunity that aligns with our strategy,” he said. “We have been extremely impressed by Marcin and the Malwarebytes executives. Along with Vector’s Value Creation Team, we have an incredible opportunity to drive and unlock value.”

As part of the investment transaction, Vector Capital, managing director Sandy Gill and Fishman will join the company’s board of directors.