The funding climate for start-up IT vendors is better than it was before the recession began, according to the chief executive of bullish identity and access management outfit Centrify.
Fresh from bagging another $16m (£10.3m) in VC funding, Centrify has hired former Symantec and Secure Computing executive Olly Carter as its first EMEA channel sales manager.
Chief executive Tom Kemp said the vendor could provide an alternative for partners of Apani Networks, which recently suspended trading after its Japanese backer pulled the plug.
"Apani's value proposition was to provide software-based network segmentation to help people address PCI," Kemp said.
"We do that, but in the context of a broader identity and access management suite."
Despite Apani's problems, Kemp waved off suggestions that the climate for IT start-ups had deteriorated over the past three years, arguing that investors will flock to those that can demonstrate traction this year.
"If a company is not gaining traction and is perceived to be more of a feature than a broader platform, it will have a hard time getting funding no matter what the climate.
"But I have recently seen the term sheets and valuations and contrary to what you might think, it is a better funding environment than two or three years ago. Because the IPO market has opened up with companies such as Jive and Imperva going public, there is an appetite to invest in good companies."
Jon Busfield, managing director of Apani partner Cygnia, said he is seeking alternatives for customers that were running proof-of-concepts with Apani.
"We are on the hunt for something else as we cannot wait for a maybe [from Apani]," he said.
Centrify works with half a dozen UK partners, most of which are focused on Linux – such as Linux IT, or Apple – such as Jigsaw and Trams.
"We are looking to greatly expand that," said Kemp.
"We are doubling down on the channel. Until now we have worked with the more platform-centric partners but now we have a broader product offering we think we can appeal to both the large and more boutique security VARs that are looking to add identity and access management to their portfolio. Olly can help us do that."
Kay Bruen, founder of channel consultancy Clipsham IT, said: "I do not believe that it is any harder now for a start up than it was pre-recession, as the same purchasing drivers apply regardless of the economic climate.
"You only have to look at the exponential growth of vendors like FireEye to prove the point that great technology will always sell. It is also true however that with the massive growth in vendor acquisitions, any technology start up that does have something unique will almost certainly be acquired and used to bolster a wider solution offering."
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