$125m VC war chest awaits NTT Com Security's outgoing boss

‘Unique challenges in Europe in the post-Snowden era’

The hedge fund that outgoing NTT Com Security overlord Simon Church is joining has $125m to splash on new investments in cyber defence and data services.

Church, who provided consultancy for C5 Capital since its inception last year, and was made an advisory board member in April, is to become an "exec in residence" at the equity investor.

London-based C5 already has three companies in its portfolio, including magnetic detection firm Metrasens, privilege access management software developer BalaBit, and ID access governance and administration outfit Omada.

Four core segments, including enterprise security, safety technologies, regulatory and compliance, and data and analytics, are the areas into which the fund will look to insert its tentacles.

Church said he is joining up to help existing C5 investments beef up sales channels, and to advise on the general direction he thinks the market is heading and potential targets.

“I’m helping C5 build an acquisition strategy to get into the hotter areas of the market where I believe they can see practical returns today,” he told us.

He said cloud security is one topic of interest, and pointed to Endpoints, BYOD, IoT as areas that will create challenges for IT departments with employees putting devices on the network.

The security services market is “fragmented” and “developing quickly” he said. C5 is seeking vendors, consultancies, and services-based tech providers.

“We are looking at all of the above — IP is of great interest. There are some unique challenges in Europe in the post-Snowden era around data sovereignty and legislative rules.”

Church said the fund has cash to invest, “currently $125m” but this will “expand over time” — at least that is the plan.

VCs and big vendors are scouring the market for good investments said Ian Kilpatrick, chairman at specialist security tech distributor Wick Hill, who said it will be “no walk in the park” for C5 Capital.

But whereas some equity investors bring cash to the table and maybe lack industry knowledge, Church will have an advantage, after racking up nearly 20 years in tech, he added.

He said new entrants generally need some assistance when they reach a certain scale and shift from direct sales to creating a wider channel of third-party suppliers.

"There's a lot of good technologies that fail because of a lack of good management processes and planning." ®

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