2018 turned out to be a record year for venture capital firms investing in cybersecurity companies. According to new data out by Strategic Cyber Ventures, a cybersecurity-focused investment firm with a portfolio of four cybersecurity companies, more than $5.3 billion was funneled into companies focused on protecting networks, systems and data across the world, despite fewer deals done during the year. That’s up from 20 percent — $4.4 billion — from 2017, and up from close to double on 2016.
Part of the reason was several “mega” funding rounds, according to the company. Last year saw some of the big eight companies getting bigger, amassing a total of $1.3 billion in funding last year. That includes Tanium’s combined $375 million investment, Anchorfree’s $295 million and CrowdStrike’s $200 million. According to the report, North America leads the rest of the world with $4 billion in VC funding, with Europe and Asia neck-and-neck at around $550 million each, but growing year-over-year.
In fact, according to the data, California — where many of the big companies have their headquarters — accounts for nearly half of all VC funding in cybersecurity in 2018. By comparison, only about $300 million went to the “government” region — including Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, where many government-backed or focused companies are located.
“As DC residents, we have to think there is more the city could do to entice cybersecurity companies to establish their headquarters in the city,” the firm said. Virtru, an email encryption and data privacy firm, drove the only funding of cybersecurity investment in Washington, DC last year, they added.
“We’ve seen this trend in the broader tech ecosystem as well, with many, large international funds and investment outside of the U.S.,” the firm said. “Simply put, amazing and valuable technology companies are being created outside of the U.S.” Looking ahead, Tanium and CrowdStrike are highly anticipated to IPO this year — so long as the markets hold stable. “It’s still unclear what the public equity markets have in store in 2019,” the firm said. “A few weeks in and we’re already experiencing a government shutdown, trade wars with China, and expected slow down in global economic growth.” “However, only time will tell what 2019 has in store,” the firm concluded.