Channel investors, Americas, Content, MDR

Managed Detection and Response: Critical Start Raises $40M

Critical Start, a Top 100 MSSP with managed detection and response (MDR) cybersecurity services, has raised $40 million to expand nationwide across the United States. The funding involves a minority investment from Sagemount, a growth equity firm.

Among the Plano, Texas-based company's latest moves: Opening field service offices in New York City and Los Angeles, California to support enterprise customers and channel partners.

The funding arrives as the line between traditional MSSP (managed security services providers) and MDR providers continues to blur. Indeed, most major MSSPs are now diving into the MDR market.

Critical Start believes it can differentiate through its Zero-Trust Analytics Platform (ZTAP), which ingests and investigates all alerts until they can be safely filtered out, resulting in a 99 percent reduction in alerts that require attention, the company claims.

Critical Start also offers a MobileSOC application -- allowing customers to interact with the company’s SOC analysts from anywhere to investigate, escalate and remediate security issues without being tethered to their desk, the company notes.

Critical Start Funding: Partnerships and MDR Revenue Growth

Critical Start has a growing list of strategic partnerships with such firms as:

Critical Start also has integrations with such companies as BlackBerry Cylance, Carbon Black and Splunk.

Roll the funding, intellectual property and strategic partnerships together, and Critical Start appears poised to push into MSSP Alert's Top 20 MDR Company List.

Indeed, the company's MDR business grew more than 300 percent in 2018 and is on pace to more than double its revenues in 2019, Critical Start says. Still, actual revenue and profit figures are undisclosed -- so it's difficult to put the company's momentum in proper context vs. publicly held MSSPs and MDR providers.

Critical Start Funding: Executive Perspectives

LinkedIn: Michael Kosty, partner, Sagemount
LinkedIn: Rob Davis, CEO, Critical Start

In a prepared statement about the funding, Critical Start CEO Rob Davis said:

“As more security partners and end customers recognize the unique value our ZTAP and MDR services add to their technologies, we’ve seen our MDR opportunities quadruple and our deal size triple compared to a year ago. This funding gives us the resources to accelerate our expansion and capitalize on the market demand for MDR services. As an employee-owned company, CRITICALSTART was looking for a capital partner that understood the market opportunity and valued our culture and focus. Sagemount proved to be the perfect fit.”

Added Michael Kosty, a partner at Sagemount:

“When it comes to growth investing, the best companies are looking for a great partner, not just an investment. As a high-growth, profitable private company, CRITICALSTART was successfully attacking the market for MDR services on its own but sought to accelerate product development and partnership opportunities. The company plans to capitalize on the huge enterprise opportunity for MDR services, which aligns perfectly with our strategy of providing flexible capital and strategic assistance to market-leading companies with recurring revenue models in high-growth markets.”

MSSPs: Private Equity Funding, Mergers and Acquisitions

The funding comes as private equity firms extend beyond the traditional MSP market and pump money into MSSP and MDR companies. Moreover, M&A activity involving MSSPs appears to be accelerating.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.