After its founder jumpstarted an effort to create more cybersecurity startups out of technology developed at Maryland government agencies, a Silicon Valley venture firm is opening an office to seek out cybersecurity companies in the state.
AllegisCyber, known until recently as Allegis Capital, is opening an office in Fulton, according to a press release. It will be colocated with DataTribe, which was cofounded last year by Allegis’ Bob Ackerman to help entrepreneurs leaving agencies such as NSA and John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.
The firm’s goal is to expand its investments in Maryland. The release points to data showing that the D.C. area has “3.5 times as many cyber engineers as the rest of the U.S. combined.” Tapping that talent to create startups has become a big push as breaches have made plain the need for fast cyber growth.
“The objective of AllegisCyber is to create an investment platform that can actively engage with the most promising entrepreneurs at any stage of development and deliver the market access, team building and operating experience essential to their success,” Ackerman said in a statement.
As the quote suggests, the firm states it will look to invest at a range of deals, from seed to later-stage. On the latter point, the firm is raising a new growth-stage fund, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. It’s also bringing in David G. DeWalt, a former CEO of FireEye and McAfee, specifically to lead Series C rounds. The 52-year-old sits on a number of boards, including Delta Airlines.
“His experience, and the networks that come with it, will be a tremendous asset to our firm and our portfolio companies as they grow from solution innovators to market leaders,” Ackerman’s statement said.
There are some prior local ties for the firm, including a leading role in 2015’s $17 million Series B for recently-acquired Baltimore firm RedOwl. But the opening of DataTribe and the office represent more permanent ties. DeWalt will also serve as a board advisor of DataTribe. Ackerman created the “startup studio” with Mike Janke and Steven Witt to provide funding, space and training to entrepreneurs as they build companies. Dragos, the industrial control systems security company which raised $10 million in Series A funding after a year, is one of four companies founded there so far. Allegis was also one of the investors in Dragos’ round.
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