New S Ventures Fund Takes on CrowdStrike Fund, Backs Armorblox and Noetic Cyber
SentinelOne is taking on top rival CrowdStrike in the venture arena, unveiling a $100 million fund to support security and data startups of all sizes.
The Silicon Valley-based endpoint security mainstay says S Ventures will give the company broader reach in adjacent markets and enable high-value integrations that can grow over time, says Rob Salvagno, senior vice president of corporate development and ventures. S Ventures will serve startups across all stages of the life cycle from seed and Series A to market-leading, late-stage companies, he says (see: How XDR Is Fulfilling the Promise That SIEM Never Did).
Out of the gate on Tuesday, SentinelOne revealed existing investments with public cloud data observability platform Laminar as well as no-code security automation platform Torq. The company also debuted new investments in API-based email security platform Armorblox and asset management and controls platform Noetic Cyber.
“The opportunity we see across security and data is massive,” Salvagno tells Information Security Media Group. “We want to bring the capability to build, buy or invest to bear for our customers.”
Investments to Range From $1M to $5M
S Ventures will make individual investments ranging from $1 million to $5 million and expects to offer follow-up support to portfolio companies over the next couple of years, Salvagno says. SentinelOne is looking for investment opportunities in which a traditional venture capital or private equity firm is leading the round and providing expertise and oversight, allowing S Ventures to take a supporting role.
Salvagno has brought on staff in the United States and Israel who have previous experience working at Salesforce Ventures, Cisco Investments and YL Ventures. SentinelOne’s formal investment committee is staffed by CEO Tomer Weingarten, CTO Ric Smith and CPO Raj Rajamani, who make the ultimate decision around whether or not to move forward with an investment.
“It really becomes a very capital-efficient way to encourage innovation and encourage an ecosystem of companies as compared with other things like M&A, which may require more significant deployments of capital,” Salvagno says.
S Ventures should help SentinelOne expand its ecosystem around extended detection and response. The company helped establish the XDR Alliance in 2021 with Armis, Exabeam, ExtraHop, Google, Mimecast and Netskope. SentinelOne’s efforts have made companies aware of the power AI and data bring to cybersecurity, and Salvagno wants to encourage more innovation here.
The Rise of Vendor-Backed Funds
S Ventures follows in the footsteps of rival CrowdStrike’s high-profile Falcon Fund, which launched in August 2019 with $20 million and a partnership with Accel. CrowdStrike added $100 million in January. Falcon Fund has invested in 14 startups since 2019, including RSA Innovation Sandbox Contest winner Talon, detection and response platform Corelight, and API protection firm Salt Security.
Two prominent identity vendors launched venture funds earlier this year. CyberArk Ventures debuted in May with $30 million and a focus on seed and Series A companies in adjacent markets. Then in June, Ping Ventures was unveiled, with a $50 million fund and a focus on seed, Series A and Series B firms addressing challenges such as real-time identity verification, decentralized identity and machine identity.
Paying It Forward
Over the past decade, SentinelOne has grown from a pre-revenue startup to the largest cybersecurity initial public offering of all time to more than doubling its revenue each year as a public company. This uniquely positions SentinelOne to help startups troubleshoot everything from targeting customers and building a scalable market to accelerating product and go-to-market growth and forming partnerships.
“This is really an opportunity for us to take some of the learnings from going through this ourselves and help the next generation of founders and entrepreneurs across data and security,” Salvagno says.
From a metrics standpoint, Salvagno says SentinelOne is tracking both monetary indicators – such as the financial performance of the investment – as well as strategic indicators – such as the number of customers working with both SentinelOne and a portfolio company and the number of new customer opportunities created through these investments.
“We want to align ourselves with the categories that really matter in security and data as well as the right companies within that,” Salvagno says.