The war in Ukraine is propelling even more growth in the cybersecurity market, as attacks — probably originated by the Russian government — continue on the infrastructure of Ukraine, European countries aiding the Ukrainians, and the United States. An executive order on cybersecurity signed by President Joe Biden in May is expected to boost federal spending on cyber, a boon to startups (there are many) that work with the government. I interviewed Alberto Yépez, co-founder and managing partner of Forgepoint Capital as part of some new coverage on cybersecurity, which affects large and small companies alike.
(Forgepoint says it’s the most active early-stage investor in the space, though there doesn’t seem to be a way to independently verify respective firms’ ranks).
Times of E spotlights focus on women and people of color, who continue to be rare in the world of venture capital. Yépez was born in Peru and got his degree in physics and computer science from the University of San Francisco. He’s a serial entrepreneur who led companies, enCommerce and Thor Technologies to exits and was an executive at Apple and Oracle.
Name: Forgepoint Capital
Location: San Mateo, Calif.
Size: Forgepoint’s first fund, launched in 2015, was $300 million and invested in 17 companies. Its second fund of $450 million is invested so far in 24 companies.
What it is: The fund invests in companies working in the cybersecurity space, defined broadly.
Some companies are working on privacy, underwriting cyber insurance, creating secure payment
systems, or making cloud technology more secure. Investee companies need to have defensible intellectual property and have demonstrated growth. Forgepoint has 11 investment professionals and typically invests $5-50M per company but that can be across several rounds. The sweet spot, according to the firm, is Series A-B with select Seed and Growth investments. Generally, ~$1M for Seed, $5M for Series A.
Leadership: Co-founders Alberto Yépez and Don Dixon established the firm in 2015 together with Will Lin. All serve as Managing Directors along with Sean Cunningham who joined Forgepoint after leading the cybersecurity practice at Intel Capital.
Track record: Four companies from the first fund and two from the second fund have been
acquired. Cloudflare, according to Yepez, was a 50% IRR return. Forescout was acquired by
Advent International in a $1.9B transaction. Yépez said the first fund will likely return 3-4 times
capital to its investors. Forgepoint continues to hold shares in many of its invested companies and supports acquisition by them of smaller companies.
Quote: “Cybersecurity is a megatrend,” said Yépez. “We look at problems being dealt with by people on the front lines.”
The story was modified after publication to correct Forgepoint’s role in the industry and management.