Cybersecurity Firm Critical Start Gets $40M Minority Investment

The new investment comes on the heels of a period of rapid growth and new partnerships with such big names as Microsoft, Chronicle Backstory, and Palo Alto Networks Cortex.

Critical Start

Plano-based cybersecurity company Critical Start announced that it has received a $40 million minority investment from the private equity firm Bregal Sagemount that will hasten its expansion and help build its team.

Critical Start

Rob Davis

Founded in 2012 by CEO Rob Davis, a former RSA Security executive, with a mission to protect its customers’ brand while reducing their risk. It does that via managed security services and security-readiness assessments using its Defendable Network framework, professional services, and product fulfillment, according to the company’s website.

“The funding will be invested in expanded marketing, training, and support programs for our partners, which will help them to service our Managed Detection and Response (MDR) customers and prospects,” Davis told Dallas Innovates via email. “Our sales coverage will expand to include additional East and West Coast markets, where now we only have employees in New York and California.”

And, Davis said: “Critical Start will continue to add additional technology integrations and double the size of our research and development team.”

The employee-owned company said that the new investment comes on the heels of a period of rapid growth, with its managed detection and response services having grown 300 percent over the past 12 months. Critical Starts says it is the largest cybersecurity firm based in Texas.

Pitchbook said that the Bregal Sagemount funding is the first outside investment in Critical Start, a majority employee-owned company. 

“The investment will have very little impact on how the company is run on a day-to-day basis,” Davis said. “We have added Michael Kosty from Sagemount to our Board, but I will continue to run the company as CEO, with myself and my wife and business partner, Tera, owning the majority of the company.”

Davis told Dallas Innovates that the current leadership team remains the same.

“However, the investment will help us to accelerate the growth of the company and expand into new markets, which we are very excited about,” Davis said. 

Critical Start’s Zero-Trust Analytics Platform takes in and investigates all alerts until they can be filtered out safely. Its MobileSOC app allows customers to interact with Critical Start’s analysts to probe, escalate, and remediate security issues from anywhere. The company has its own in-house research team.

“We are working on a GUI redesign for our Zero-Trust Analytics Platform (ZTAP) and launching new versions of our MobileSOC app on iOS and Android,” Davis said. “We will also continue to add technology partners in the future as a way to add new capabilities or technology to our MDR service.”

Critical Start has new partnerships, expanded locations

Critical Start, which says it is the fastest-growing cybersecurity integrator in North America, recently announced strategic partnerships with major national names in cybersecurity, including Microsoft Defender ATP. 

“Microsoft invests approximately $1 billion in cybersecurity every year and is highly committed to developing advanced security technologies that utilize leading security tools for its existing and future offerings,” Davis said. “We share a common goal to positively impact the cybersecurity market with better tools, technology, and expertise, and by collaborating with an innovative, industry leader such as Microsoft, we can improve the security posture for millions of organizations.”

Critical Start also has partnerships with such companies as Chronicle Backstory—Alphabet’s cloud-based security information and event management platform—and Palo Alto Networks Cortex.

The company said it has expanded it national presence to Los Angeles and New York City. It also has offices in Austin, Houston, Kansas City, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, and Tulsa.

Critical Start’s accolades include:

  • Two years on SMU’s “Dallas 100 List” of fastest-growing companies-privately held business
  • “Top 100 Managed Security Services Providers” list for 2018 by MSSP Alert
  • “2018 CRN Fast Growth 150” list
  • “Aggie 100 Entrepreneur List”

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