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Kiwi security specialist RedShield partners with BT, targets US growth

Kiwi security specialist RedShield partners with BT, targets US growth

RedShield, the winner of two Hi-Tech Awards this month, is accelerating its push into the US market.

Man on a mission: RedShield CEO Andy Prow aims to double or triple revenue for the next three years.

Man on a mission: RedShield CEO Andy Prow aims to double or triple revenue for the next three years.

Wellington-based security firm RedShield has bagged one of the world's largest telcos, BT, as part of its channel.

After completing a $6.2 million funding round in December, the deal is the company's second international reseller arrangement after inking an agreement with US-based Connect I.T. in March.

"We now have a global, non-exclusive reseller deal with BT," RedShield co-founder and CEO Andy Prow said. "The deal is with BT Global, the primary focus at the moment is with BT Americas."

Prow said RedShield is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business, though he tends to refer to it as "software-with-a-service".

The company is focusing on delivering its rapid remediation defensive service offshore, Prow said. This shields client systems before remediation, offering "time to defence" to shut the door on security flaws.

"For many of our customers that is not an overnight process," Prow explained. "A large banking app, e-commerce app or airline booking system, cannot just be fixed in a day or in an hour. It's going to take months to find the security flaw and fix it."

RedShield can provide cover for those applications fast, in minutes to days depending on the issue.

As the company has grown overseas, RedShield is focusing more and more on that capability, as "the thing that we do that no one else does", Prow said.

RedShield also shields clients from denial of service attacks.

"In New Zealand we will happily compete in that market but overseas not so much. It's not unique enough."

The same applies to its basic "tick-the-box" web application firewall.

"The thing that we do that no one else does is, moving up the food chain, to where the application has some quite serious security flaws where software remediation and upgrade is one of the only options.

"What we've now found is distressed customers globally are looking for options. We have our first US Fortune 50 companies coming on board shortly."

Such customers are looking to RedShield because they have found themselves in a "spot of bother", Prow said. Ignoring the issue is not an option and nor is turning it off, but fixing it could take months.

"This is where we are finding our real traction overseas," he said.

RedShield has found that once its system has been deployed, no client has ever turned it off after the security issue has been addressed.

"They leave it on as an proactive defensive measure," Prow said.

RedShield recently opened an office in Denver and has lofty growth aspirations.

"The plan is to be doubling or tripling revenue each year for the next three years," Prow said.

That is already happening locally, however, customers here are smaller than overseas. RedShield's largest offshore opportunity at the moment, for instance, is roughly ten times the value of all its New Zealand customers put together, Prow said.

That means the value of future deals could move from the hundreds of thousands of dollars to the tens of millions.

Having doubled its headcount from around 20 to over 40 staff since the funding round in March, the aim is to grow to 60 staff in total by the end of the year.

Ten staff are overseas now growing to 20 or 30 by the end of the year, primarily in the US but also in Australia and London.

Qualified channels are needed because the first step in deploying RedShield defence is to assess what is required and to undertake initial design work for the solution. The first point of contact clients will have with RedShield will be through certified security consultants in the channel, Prow said.

"Local staff on the ground are the quickest route to gaining trust and intelligence on what the customer's problems are," Prow said.

In New Zealand, RedShield works with Kordia, Datacom and Dimension Data.

RedShield won two Hi-Tech Awards earlier this month taking home the Most Innovative Hi-Tech Software and the Most Innovative Hi-Tech Service categories. Last year, RedShield won the NZ CIO Innovation Award and the iSANZ InfoSec Company of the Year award.

“Needless to say, it’s been a very busy start to the year, and we’re hugely excited about what’s still to come, with further announcements concerning key account wins expected to follow shortly,” Prow said.

Aura Information Security, the consulting business previously founded by Prow and other key members of RedShield, was sold to Kordia in November 2015, for $10.2 million.

RedShield was already profitable at the time of the sale of the consulting business, Prow said, but after its March funding round is back in growth mode.

The new investor was Sage Technologies, the technology venture of investment manager and QuantRes founder Harald McPike. Sage bought just over 20% of RedShield, valuing it at nearly $31 million.


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