St. Louis tech giant teams up with VC firm to expand cybersecurity arm
by Nathan Rubbelke – St. Louis Inno editor, St. Louis Business Journal
Maryland Heights-based World Wide Technology has formed a partnership with a San Francisco venture capital firm to increase its access to innovative cybersecurity technologies.
WWT, which provides technology products and services for large businesses and government entities, has partnered with investment and advisory firm NightDragon to incorporate the San Francisco investor's portfolio firms into its commercial operations. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
NightDragon, led by founder and CEO Dave DeWalt, makes late-stage investments in companies in the cybersecurity and privacy fields. WWT and NightDragon billed their partnership as one that will be mutually advantageous: WWT will be able to provide technologies developed by NightDragon's portfolio companies to its customers, with the portfolio firms having their commercial operations advanced as a result. NightDragon's portfolio companies will have "preferred terms" with WWT and have access to its Advanced Technology Center and Cyber Range threat training technology to aid with product development efforts, the companies said. NightDragon said it will establish a NightDragon Innovation Program Office at WWT.
"WWT is a $20 billion powerhouse that recognizes the power of true innovation and can add immense go-to-market value to NightDragon portfolio companies. NightDragon is proud to partner with WWT to advance the capabilities of our portfolio companies and ensure the world's biggest organizations have the latest innovations needed to defend against today's rising cyber risk," said Dave DeWalt, founder and CEO of NightDragon.
Privately held WWT, led by CEO Jim Kavanaugh, is the St. Louis region's second-largest privately held company with $20 billion in annual revenue. It operates from 55 locations and as of November reported having 5,937 local and 10,559 total employees.
WWT has looked to venture capital firms before to scout technologies, including partnering with St. Louis-based SixThirty Ventures. WWT Vice President for Global Cyber Chris Konrad said the partnership with NightDragon is particularly attractive because of the venture firm's focus on late-stage investments. That gives WWT access to products that are developed and have entered the market and can be easily offered to customers, Konrad said.
Konrad said WWT's association with NightDragon "will elevate our brand as a security company," citing NightDragon's investments and its founding by DeWalt, who previously served as CEO of computer security firm McAfee. The partnership will also allow access to technologies around privacy and physical cybersecurity, including applications for space.
"They are very entrenched in that area and we're not," Konrad said.
The partnership with NightDragon comes as WWT's cybersecurity operations have grown in recent years to generate more than $3 billion in revenue, up significantly from just north of $100 million in 2014, Konrad said.