John Thompson is chairman of the Microsoft board of directors. He was previously chairman and CEO for 10 years at Symantec, one of the largest security software companies globally. Before that, he had a 27-year career at IBM Corporation and left as GM of IBM Americas where he led 40,000+ people in sales, services and support. Thompson is an active investor in early-stage technology companies.
Thompson recently invested into a hot cybersecurity startup – Phantom Cyber – alongside some other high-profile technology executives including:
- Tom Noonan, GM at Cisco, former chairman and CEO at ISS (Internet Security Systems), acquired by IBM in 2007
- John Becker, former CEO at Sourcefire, acquired by Cisco in 2013, and former CEO at CyberTrust, acquired by Verizon in 2007
- Zach Nelson, president and CEO at NetSuite since 2002, and previously VP and GM at Network Associates (a.k.a. McAfee, now Intel Security)
Phantom Cyber announced a $2.7 million seed round, in its attempts to break new ground by automating cybersecurity. VC firms Foundation Capital based in Silicon Valley and Rein Capital based in New Jersey participated in the round.
For a cybersecurity startup, Phantom Cyber has a dream team of investors. And the all-star cast doesn’t stop there. Its advisors are ex-Sourcefire executives who helped run that company up to a $2.7 billion acquisition by Cisco in 2013. The advisors include Todd Headley, former Sourcefire CFO who helped take the company public in 2007, and Lt. Gen. Steven Polk, former chairman of the board at Sourcefire who is also former inspector general for the USAF.
The Sourcefire pedigree extends to Phantom Cyber’s executive management team. Oliver Friedrichs is Phantom Cyber’s founder and CEO. He previously founded Immunet, which was acquired by Sourcefire in 2010.
The cybersecurity industry is poised to grow from $71 billion in 2014 to $155 billion by 2019, according to Cybersecurity Ventures’ Cybersecurity Market Report.
When you consider the market opportunity and Phantom Cyber’s investors, advisors and leadership team, this is a company to keep your eyes on.
Steve Morgan is founder and CEO at Cybersecurity Ventures and editor-in-chief of the Cybersecurity Market Report and the Cybersecurity 500 list of the world’s hottest and most innovative cybersecurity companies. Follow Steve on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.