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Heartland Tech Weekly: How Duo Security built a $2.35 billion company in Ann Arbor

Heartland communities now have one other success story to quote when going through questions from skeptics about whether or not or not billion-dollar companies could be built outdoors of Silicon Valley. Ann Arbor’s Duo Security final week introduced that it was being acquired by Cisco for $2.35 billion. Considering that Duo, a safety startup that develops enterprise multi-factor authentication options, was final valued at $1.17 billion — I’d enterprise that its buyers are fairly proud of the end result as nicely.

It’s too early to inform simply how a lot of a presence Duo will proceed to have in Ann Arbor in the approaching years, however Cisco mentioned it remained “committed” to investing in Southeast Michigan, citing the realm’s wealthy expertise and infrastructure as positives.

I spoke with Duo Security cofounder and CEO Dug Song this week in regards to the acquisition and Duo’s journey.  Below are some highlights from our dialog:

Why Duo determined to promote to Cisco

Cisco is likely one of the largest tech giants in the trade at present, and they’re on a fairly massive journey, not simply in the cloud but in addition in safety. They’ve had clearly been in each companies for someday, however as we watched over the previous couple of years, a shift [is] passing there that’s principally a related sort of change that Microsoft has been going through in the final 4 or 5 years. That’s the place it’s been actually thrilling [and we felt] that we may help Cisco.

How lengthy we’ve talked with them about an acquisition was very quick, how lengthy we’ve talked with them about being a strategic companion has been for fairly a while. They have been truly buyers in the Series D that we did [in October 2017].

What sort of influence he hopes the deal has on Ann Arbor

A big a part of our consideration round all this was the truth that a deal like this has a large influence on a neighborhood. I’ve seen this not just for Martin’s [Roesch, chief architect for Cisco’s Security Business Group] company, SourceFireplace and what sort of that regarded like for the Maryland and Northern Virginia space in respect to cybersecurity, but in addition for mates like Scott Dorsey, who was the founding father of ExactTarget…and the influence that had on…actually the acceleration of the techcommunity in Indianapolis.

I’m already getting a lot of curiosity from buyers asking, “well is there another Duo in Ann Arbor?” I say, “well not right now, but there’s hundreds of potential ones that I can point you to.”

How he and his cofounder have been capable of join with Silicon Valley buyers

I’m undecided how a lot people will be capable of extrapolate from my expertise, as a result of each enterprise is exclusive, however a few issues: As a founder, my background as a technical founder particularly comes from having created a lot of open supply instruments and software program that many many individuals ended up utilizing…issues like that assist change into a little little bit of a calling card.

And everybody asks Puneet [Agarwal of True Ventures, Duo’s first institutional investor] what his thesis was and why did he come to Duo in Michigan to verify us out. It’s as a result of he did a lot of backchannel [sic] about us. He didn’t even know essentially what we did, however he knew that each single one that requested about us mentioned, “oh yeah, those guys are great, and they write great software.”

On discovering expertise in Ann Arbor

I believe from my perspective, what buyers have sometimes seen right here, is, I’ve been capable of construct a world-class staff, even when that staff has for essentially the most half, all been doing their jobs for the primary time….by and enormous, we now have rather more of what some buyers would possibly name a little bit of a “rookie team.”

I imagine expertise is equally distributed however alternative is just not — and the chance you have got in constructing a startup, which has to assume completely different than what’s come earlier than it in order to achieve success, requires you to search out those that generally aren’t so utterly inundated with Silicon Valley sort of cult of the way you do issues.

Thanks for studying, and ship me an e mail together with your commentary and suggestions. You may join right here for VentureBeat’s Heartland Tech e-newsletter to get this column in your inbox weekly.

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter

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About Beverly Hall

Beverly D. Hall writes for Entreprenuers and Leadership sections in AmericaRichest.

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