Friday, November 16, 2018
Business

Trigaux: Top Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs invests $30 million in cyber fighting KnowBe4

CLEARWATER ó If this isnít a Good Housekeeping seal of approval, then what is?

Wall Streetís best known investment firm, Goldman Sachs, is committing the sizeable sum of $30 million to help advance the fast-growing Clearwater cyber security training startup called KnowBe4.

Thatís a ton of money for any startup in the bay area. And the Goldman Sachsí imprimatur adds a whole other layer on this deal, making the investment a great win for KnowBe4 but also a big victory for recognizing potential in Tampa Bayís entrepreneurs and its expanding market of startups.

Goldman Sachs vice president Hans Sherman says KnowBe4 has distinguished itself as a leader in the cyber-security awareness training market. The startupís platform, he states, has become "a Ďneed to haveí for businesses across sectors and geographies in the fight against cyber threats."

As part of the Goldman investment, Sherman will join KnowBe4ís board of directors.

KnowBe4 founder and CEO Stu Sjouwerman is a veteran entrepreneur who knows his way around building well-designed startups, finding and motivating the right people to hire, and understanding how to pitch his startup concept to potential investors.

RELATED COVERAGE: KnowBe4 taps going Ď90 miles an hourí with enthusiastic, engaged workforce.

Sjouwerman also obviously loves what he does. His "office" at KnowBe4ís expanding offices in downtown Clearwater is typically a stand-up computer console in the main room atop the office tower at 33 N. Garden Ave. He keeps a nearby scoreboard and frequently celebrates sales victories at start-of-the-day staff meetings.

It works on many levels. KnowBe4 ranks No. 231 on the 2017 Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. And after first landing on the Tampa Bay Times Top 100 Workplace list in 2016 as the best small company workplace, KnowBe4 catapulted in 2017 to the No. 1 mid-sized company. An impressive leap over many other deserving company workplaces.

Sjouwerman said the confidence demonstrated by Goldman Sachís $30 million investment shows the strength of his companyís new approach in the security awareness training market.

"The demand for KnowBe4ís platform has driven 18 straight quarters of growth," he states. "The funding comes at an important time for us as we are expanding globally. Last week we announced our European growth plans and are looking forward to future international expansion."

PAST COVERAGE: Top-ranked workplace among small firms, KnowBe4 blends cyber savvy, hard work and fun.

A company that employed only 70 last year hit the 300 mark in June and is now at 350 with 25 more openings here and an additional five in the United Kingdom. Revenues are approaching $60 million. KnowBe4 delivers security awareness training combined with simulated "phishing" attacks (using false identities to deceive employees to divulge corporate secrets by email or other electronic means) as part of its user education program. The companyís slogan: Human error. Conquered.

Goldman Sachs may not be the most universally adored Wall Street firm but it is no fool. It knows cyber security in all forms is a major growth industry. And it obviously likes what it sees at KnowBe4.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected] Follow @venturetampabay.

Comments
Florida's Brightline rail service partners with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, will become Virgin Trains USA

Florida's Brightline rail service partners with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, will become Virgin Trains USA

Brightline, the South Florida train and development company that wants to expand to Tampa, will change its name to Virgin Trains USA after partnering with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group.
Published: 11/16/18
Free turkey with flu shot? The best Thanksgiving meal deals: Publix, Walmart, Winn-Dixie and Target

Free turkey with flu shot? The best Thanksgiving meal deals: Publix, Walmart, Winn-Dixie and Target

Every major grocer has some sort of turkey deal this weekend or in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. So, let's break down where you can find the cheapest bird for your friends and family.
Published: 11/16/18
Florida jobless rate drops to 3.4 percent, adds 17,800 jobs

Florida jobless rate drops to 3.4 percent, adds 17,800 jobs

Unemployment continues to fall across the state and the Tampa Bay region holds its own.
Published: 11/16/18
Green Bench Brewing's expansion 'an investment' into St. Petersburg

Green Bench Brewing's expansion 'an investment' into St. Petersburg

Set to open early next year, Green Bench Brewing walks us through the new space and ambitious new projects.
Published: 11/16/18
Longtime Florida Steel CEO Edward Flom of Tampa dies at 88

Longtime Florida Steel CEO Edward Flom of Tampa dies at 88

Under Edward Flom, Florida Steel's 2,300 employees produced reinforcing steel — often just called rebar — for projects from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to Tropicana Field, plus countless homes.
Published: 11/16/18
Florida just banned indoor vaping. Will you be affected?

Florida just banned indoor vaping. Will you be affected?

Last week, Floridians voted to ban indoor vaping. We want to hear how you expect to be affected.
Published: 11/16/18
Inside the newsroom: Tampa Bay Times project team takes a deep dive inside a notorious Florida death penalty case

Inside the newsroom: Tampa Bay Times project team takes a deep dive inside a notorious Florida death penalty case

A project team at the Tampa Bay Times explores the death penalty in Florida through a notorious 1975 murder case.
Published: 11/16/18
Pasco Business Digest for Nov. 23

Pasco Business Digest for Nov. 23

News and notes on local businesses.
Published: 11/16/18
How do you feel about a $35 million bike path across the new Howard Frankland bridge?

How do you feel about a $35 million bike path across the new Howard Frankland bridge?

The overhaul to the Howard Frankland Bridge includes a bike and pedestrian path. Is it worth it?
Published: 11/16/18
Gulport woman sues Dog Bar over bite

Gulport woman sues Dog Bar over bite

A Gulfport woman is suing St. Petersburg's Dog Bar, saying she was attacked by a dog there in May.
Published: 11/16/18