Winning an innovation award is no guarantee of subsequent business success for early-stage, technology startups, especially in the constantly evolving sphere of ‘security’. Yet, analysis shows, those named as winners or runners-up in the Security category of the annual Tech Trailblazers Awards [founded in 2012] are apt to do better than most, having raised US$722m between them.
No fewer than five past winners or runners-up have proceeded to exit through acquisition or IPO:
- Hexadite, runner-up in 2016, was acquired by Microsoft in May 2017 for US$100m
- PhishMe (now Cofense), runner-up in 2015, was acquired by Pamplona Capital Management in February 2018 for US$400m
- Zscaler, winner in 2013, IPO’d in March 2018 raising US$192m with a valuation of US$1.9 billion
- Vaultive, runner-up in 2012, was acquired by CyberArk Software in March 2018 for an undisclosed sum
- Veriflow, winner in 2016, was acquired by VMware in August 2019, also for an undisclosed sum
A total of 22 investors have invested in 82 funding rounds. Measured in the first instance by number of companies and then by number of rounds, the six most active investors in Tech Trailblazers Security Award winners and runners-up are:
- .406 Ventures: eight funding rounds in three companies (Edgewise Networks, ThreatStack, Vaultive)
- Bain Capital Ventures: seven rounds in three companies (Attivo Networks, Awake, ShiftLeft)
- Accomplice: four rounds in two companies (Edgewise Networks, ThreatStack)
- Lightspeed Venture Partners: four rounds in two companies (Aqua Security, Zscaler)
- Mayfield Fund: four rounds in two companies (Balbix, ShiftLeft)
- New Enterprise Associates: four rounds in two companies (Veriflow, Zerofox)
As a predictor of investment success, the most productive year for the awards was 2018, with short-listed businesses subsequently raising $282m.
Rose Ross, founder of the Tech Trailblazers Awards said: “This is the first year we’ve conducted such an analysis; seven years feels like a significant enough length of time to test just how good our track record actually is. And it’s clear that the winners of our awards also turn into winners for founders and investors. We plan to perform a similar analysis and publish the results annually in the form of the Tech Trailblazers Security Startup Tracker, a metric to make sure that we continue to identify and reward the right companies.”
The Tech Trailblazers Awards was the first independent awards program dedicated to enterprise information technology startups. Every year since 2012, it has identified the most innovative entrants and concepts in enterprise technology: startups are invited to nominate themselves, with shortlists for each category chosen by the Tech Trailblazers Awards’ panel of leading IT industry experts. Winners are identified by a combination of judging panel opinions and public vote.
In the newly announced Eighth Edition of the awards, the Security category attracted most entries for the third year running, having first overtaken the Cloud category in 2017.
The Tech Trailblazers Awards is supported by sponsors and industry partners including AfriLabs, Amoo Venture Capital Advisory, beSUCCESS, bnetTV, BigDataStartups, China AXLR8R, the Cloud Security Alliance, Computing, ExecEvent, GFT, GoMoNews, The Green Grid, GSMA, The Icehouse, Innovation Warehouse, Internet of Things Events, IP EXPO Europe, Launchpad Europe, L’Informaticien, Lissted, MIT/Stanford Venture Lab, The Next Silicon Valley, Outsource, Prezi, The Register, Silicon Cape Initiative, Skolkovo, StarTau, Startup America, Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), Tech in Asia, TechNode, TiE Silicon Valley, Wazoku, Ventureburn and VMware.