NetSPI Raises Growth Capital From Sunstone Partners

MINNEAPOLIS, April 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- NetSPI LLC (NetSPI), the leading security testing and vulnerability correlation company, today announced the completion of a strategic growth equity financing led by Sunstone Partners. The investment will allow NetSPI to accelerate development of new products and service offerings, penetrate new verticals, and expand geographically.

NetSPI has grown profitably every year since its founding in 2001, and this financing marks the first institutional capital ever raised by the company.  NetSPI currently supports many of the top 10 financial institutions, healthcare providers, and technology companies. 

"Our clients are under intense pressure from business, regulatory, and governance perspectives to partner with cybersecurity experts to increase their security posture to safeguard their organization against the volatile and ever-evolving threat landscape.  Our solution portfolio comprises of a world-class proprietary software platform, CorrelatedVM®, encapsulated with deep professional services expertise which is empowering global organizations to scale and operationalize their security programs," said Deke George, NetSPI's Co-Founder & CEO. "We are looking forward to our partnership with Sunstone Partners given their team's successful track record and experience in cybersecurity."

According to the report, "Penetration Testing Market by Testing Service (Network, Web, Mobile, Social Engineering, Wireless, Embedded Devices and Industrial Control System), Deployment Mode (Cloud and On-Premises), Organization Size, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2021", published by MarketsandMarkets, penetration testing market size is estimated to grow from USD 594.7 Million in 2016 to USD 1,724.3 Million by 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23.7% during the forecast period. 2015 is considered to be the base year while the forecast period is 2016–2021. 

"We have known NetSPI for several years and have been consistently impressed by the team's culture, product offering, and loyal customer base," said Gustavo Alberelli, Managing Director at Sunstone Partners.  "NetSPI's enterprise customers repeatedly stress their satisfaction and growing need for NetSPI's differentiated solutions, especially given the increasing number of connected applications susceptible to vulnerabilities and advanced persistent threats.  Security testing continues to be the fastest-growing subsegment within cybersecurity, and we are excited to partner with the NetSPI team to maximize the company's full potential."

As part of the investment, the new board of directors will include Gustavo Alberelli and Michael Biggee, Managing Directors at Sunstone Partners, Scott Hammack, and Stuart Scholly joined by Deke George. Hammack will serve as NetSPI's Executive Chairman.  Hammack and Scholly most recently worked with the Sunstone Partners team while serving as CEO and President respectively of Prolexic Technologies, the leading Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation provider, which Akamai acquired in February 2014 for $415 million. Mooreland Partners LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to NetSPI LLC in connection with this transaction.

About NetSPI

NetSPI is the leading provider of application and network security testing solutions that support organizations in scaling and operationalizing their threat and vulnerability management programs.  The solution portfolio includes both security testing services and a software platform, CorrelatedVM®, trusted by many of the Fortune 250. NetSPI's clients consist of financial institutions, healthcare providers, retailers, and technology companies.  NetSPI is based in Minneapolis and has additional offices in New York and Portland.  

www.netspi.com

About Sunstone Partners

Sunstone Partners is an investment firm focused on growth equity investments and majority buyouts in technology businesses. The firm is a spin-out of the growth equity team of Trident Capital, a multi-stage investment firm with seven funds and $1.9 billion of capital under management since 1993. The firm is currently investing out of Sunstone Partners I, LP, a fund with $310 million of committed capital. Sunstone Partners is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area.   

www.sunstonepartners.com


Sunstone Partners Expands Investment Team With Five New Hires And One Promotion

SAN MATEO, CA, AUGUST 2, 2016 – Sunstone Partners, a $300 million growth equity firm investing in technology-enabled services companies, today announced significant expansion of its investment team, hiring two new Vice Presidents, promoting a third Vice President, and hiring three new Associates.

Andy Cao, Vice President.  Andy Cao was promoted to Vice President from Senior Associate in recognition of his contributions to the Sunstone Partners team in sourcing and leading investments. Most recently, Andy was integrally involved in the firm’s investment in UserZoom Technologies, where he currently serves as a Board Director.  Andy previously worked with the Sunstone team at Trident Capital, which he joined as an Associate in 2012.  Andy began his career at Citigroup as a Global Banking Analyst.  Raised in Los Angeles, Andy is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology where he received a B.S.Econ. degree from the Wharton School and B.S.Eng. degree from the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences.

Ankur Rathi, Vice President.  Ankur Rathi joins Sunstone Partners as an investment team Vice President after earning his M.B.A. degree with Honors from the Wharton School.  Previously, Ankur was an Associate at Riverside Partners, a technology and healthcare focused private equity firm in Boston.  Before Riverside, Ankur was an Associate at Allstate Investments, focused on global investing as a limited partner in private equity firms.  Ankur began his career as an analyst at BMO Capital Markets in the Mergers & Acquisitions group.  Raised outside of Chicago, Ankur earned B.S. degrees with High Honors in Accountancy and in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Gabriel Shaukat, Vice President.  Gabe Shaukat joins Sunstone Partners as an investment team Vice President after earning his M.B.A. degree with Honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  Previously, Gabe was an Associate at Primus Capital, a healthcare and technology focused private equity firm in Cleveland.  Before Primus, Gabe worked as an Investment Banking Analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in the Consumer and Retail group.  Raised in Columbus, Georgia, Gabe earned a B.B.A. degree in Finance, summa cum laude, from the University of Georgia.

Emanuel Pleitez, Associate.  Emanuel Pleitez joins Sunstone Partners as an investment team Associate after serving as a consultant to the Sunstone team during the raising of Sunstone Partners’ first fund.  Prior to joining Sunstone Partners, Emanuel served as a Commissioner for the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions and Head of Strategy and Business Development for Qlovi, an education technology startup.  Before Qlovi, Emanuel was Chief Strategy Officer for Spokeo.  Previously, Emanuel was a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company.  Prior to McKinsey & Company, he served as Special Assistant to Chairman Paul Volcker in the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Designated Federal Officer of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB).  Emanuel began his career as a Financial Analyst at Goldman Sachs in the Equities Product Group of the Securities Division.  Emanuel is currently a soldier in the U.S. Army Reserve and the chairman of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.  Emanuel was raised in Los Angeles and holds a B.A. degree from Stanford University.

Mike (YueFeng) Du, Associate.  Mike Du joins Sunstone Partners as an investment team Associate after working as an Investment Banking Analyst at Deutsche Bank in the Technology, Media, Telecom Group.  During his time at Deutsche Bank, Mike focused on mergers and acquisitions and capital raising for companies across the TMT sector.  Mike earned from Duke University a B.Eng. degree in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Finance.  Mike was born in Dalian, China and was raised in Vancouver, Canada. 

Sidhant Misra, Associate.  Sid Misra joins Sunstone Partners as an investment team Associate after working as an Analyst in The Walt Disney Company's Corporate Strategy and Business Development group.  He also completed a summer internship program with the U.S. Treasury Department.  Raised in Columbia, MO, Sid graduated cum laude with an A.B. degree in Economics from Harvard College.

The Sunstone Partners leadership team includes Co-Founder / Managing Directors Gustavo Alberelli, Michael Biggee, John Moragne and Arneek Multani, and Managing Director-Operations, John Reardon.  

About Sunstone Partners

Sunstone Partners is a new growth equity firm focused on technology-enabled services companies.  The firm is a spin-out of the growth equity team of Trident Capital, a multi-stage investment firm with seven funds and $1.9 billion of capital under management since 1993.

Sunstone Partners makes growth equity and growth buyout investments in companies that have annual revenue of at least $10 million, are growing at greater than 20% per year and are profitable. We invest in both sizable minority positions and control transactions.

www.sunstonepartners.com


Sunstone Partners Closes $300 Million Fund

PALO ALTO, CA, APRIL 28, 2016 – Sunstone Partners, a newly formed growth equity firm, today announced the closing of its first fund, Sunstone Partners I, L.P., with $300 million of total commitments. The fund initially targeted $200 million, was significantly oversubscribed, and reached its hard cap without using a placement agent. The new fund’s investors include university endowments, corporate pension plans, foundations, insurance companies, investment advisors, state and government retirement systems and family offices.

Sunstone Partners is a spin-out of the growth equity team of Trident Capital, a multi-stage investment firm with seven funds and $1.9 billion of capital under management since 1993. Sunstone Partners was initially known as TC Growth Partners. Recent liquidity events for the Sunstone team include the initial public offering of Teladoc (NYSE: TDOC) and several successful M&A transactions: Acclaris (acquired by Towers Watson), Prolexic (acquired by Akamai), Fruition Partners (acquired by CSC) and Voltage Security (acquired by HP).

The senior leadership team consists of co-founders Gustavo Alberelli, Michael Biggee, John Moragne and Arneek Multani. The four co-founders have over 60 years of cumulative investment experience, most of which have been working together at Trident, and have together led 46 individual investments.

At Sunstone Partners, the team will continue to lead growth equity investments and majority recapitalizations/buyouts in technology-enabled services businesses with a history of capital efficiency. The firm will focus on four core industry sectors – Healthcare IT, Internet and Marketing Services, Cloud and Enterprise IT, and Cybersecurity. Equity investments will range from $15 to $75 million per portfolio company. Target companies will have the following financial criteria:

  • Annual revenue of at least $10 million;
  • Revenue growth greater than 20% per year; and
  • Breakeven or profitable.

In 2015, the firm closed its first investment, a $34 million financing of UserZoom Technologies, the leading user experience research and testing software-as-a-service platform.

Arneek Multani and Gustavo Alberelli stated, “We are humbled by the strong market validation of our strategy and grateful to our limited partner investors for demonstrating their confidence in us. Our team looks forward to building upon our new Sunstone Partners platform.”

To help founders and management teams drive their companies forward, Sunstone Partners offers substantial expertise in operational best practices and a team of experienced operating executives to provide hands-on guidance. Leading the portfolio operations team is managing director of portfolio operations, John Reardon, as well as operating partners Jeff Rich and Scott Hammack.

John Moragne and Michael Biggee stated, “We spun out to build a new firm focused exclusively on growth stage investing, dedicated to a simple strategy: to partner with founders and management teams and dramatically increase the value of their companies by recruiting top notch talent, implementing best in class infrastructure and accelerating sales growth.”

About Sunstone Partners

Sunstone Partners is a new growth equity firm focused on technology-enabled services companies. The firm is a spin-out of the growth equity team of Trident Capital, a multi-stage investment firm with seven funds and $1.9 billion of capital under management since 1993. Sunstone Partners makes growth equity and growth buyout investments in companies that have annual revenue of at least $10 million, are growing at greater than 20% per year and are profitable. We invest in both sizable minority positions and control transactions. www.sunstonepartners.com


UserZoom Raises $34 Million Led by Sunstone Partners

San Jose, Calif. – October 15, 2015 – UserZoom Technologies, the leading User Experience (UX) research & testing SaaS platform, has completed a $34 million financing led by Sunstone Partners together with co-investors Trident Capital and StepStone Group. UserZoom intends to apply this capital to support its rapid growth and further disrupt the multi-billion dollar usability testing market. Founded in Barcelona in 2007 by Alfonso de la Nuez, Javier Darriba and Xavier Mestres, UserZoom is headquartered in San Jose, CA and has additional offices in Spain, the UK and Germany.

“Online and mobile users are more empowered than ever before and expect a seamless, intuitive experience without significant training. If users do not have a great experience, they will likely go to a competitor and may openly criticize a brand on social media. We started UserZoom to provide enterprises with the user data and insights they need to be successful in this new environment,” said Alfonso de la Nuez, UserZoom’s Co-Founder & CEO.

By leveraging its SaaS platform and managed services, UserZoom allows the world’s largest companies to conduct thousands of concurrent usability tests of their applications, so that they can continually improve the user experience and value proposition. Today, Fortune 500 companies like Lenovo, Intel and Citigroup power and automate their usability testing, for both websites and mobile apps, through UserZoom’s agile and cost-effective online research platform.

According to O’Keeffe & Company, an independent market research firm, 93% of the C-level Executives interviewed say that improving customer experience (CX) is one of the top three priorities for the next two years. Historically, large enterprises relied exclusively on in-person focus groups led by agencies to collect feedback, which often were time-intensive and costly. With the accelerating adoption of agile development and exponential increases in mobile activity, enterprises need a faster, more scalable and continuous solution for measuring and improving the user experience.

“We have followed UserZoom’s progress closely since 2012 and have been greatly impressed by both the founding team and the company’s ability to generate +100% year-over-year growth while maintaining profitability,” said Gustavo Alberelli, Managing Director at Sunstone Partners and new UserZoom Board member. “The company’s large enterprise customers consistently stress their need for UserZoom’s product offering and emphasize their rapid return on investment. We look forward to continue working with the UserZoom team to maximize the company’s full potential.”

About UserZoom Technologies

UserZoom is the All-in-One User Experience (UX) Research Platform for the Data-Driven Enterprise. Our worry-free Enterprise solution offers a quantitative and qualitative research platform to help UX/CX, Product Managers and Marketing professionals rapidly test usability and measure UX.  With offices in 4 different countries, the company continues to grow and to develop new products and services, making UserZoom the #1 UX research solution in the market. Find out more at www.userzoom.com or call (866) 599-1550.

About Sunstone Partners

Founded in 2015, Sunstone Partners is a new investment fund focused on growth equity investments and majority buyouts in technology businesses. The team previously worked together at Trident Capital, a multi-stage investment firm with seven funds and $1.9 billion under management since 1993. The firm is currently investing out of Sunstone Partners I, LP, a fund with $310 million of committed capital. Sunstone Partners is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA and was previously known as TC Growth Partners. www.sunstonepartners.com

About StepStone Group LP

StepStone Group is a global private markets firm overseeing US$70 billion of private capital allocations, including approximately US$12 billion of assets under management. The Firm creates customized portfolios for the world’s most sophisticated investors using a highly disciplined research-focused approach that prudently integrates primaries, secondaries, and co-investments. www.stepstoneglobal.com

About Trident Capital

Trident Capital is a venture capital and growth equity investor that invests in enterprise software and services; internet and mobility; healthcare IT; and cybersecurity. Founded in 1993 and with $1.9 billion under management, Trident invests across North America in both minority and control investments. For more information, visit www.tridentcapital.com.