Sonatype, a Maryland-based cybersecurity company, announced Friday that it has raised $80 million from investors. The funding round was led by San Francisco-based private equity fund TPG, with participation from Accel, Goldman Sachs and Hummer Winblad.
Sonatype has carved a niche for itself helping corporations scan software components for cyber vulnerabilities before they are used to build applications. It is headed by E. Wayne Jackson III, a seasoned cybersecurity executive who has been a leader in the D.C. area's growing cybersecurity industry. Jackson's last venture was a Maryland-based company called SourceFire, which went public and was sold to Cisco for $2.7 billion in 2013.
Sonatype has grown quickly since its founding in 2008. Jackson said in a Thursday phone interview that the company is on track to finish the year at “well north of $40 million” in revenue. It counts 57 of the Fortune 100 companies among its clients.
Jackson says he wants to eventually take the company public. “An initial public offering is something that we’re building towards,” he said. “It's likely a couple of years away, but we can definitely see it."
Some see the company's success as a sign of a stronger ecosystem for D.C.-area tech firms.
"This financing clearly demonstrates the reality of our market," said Jonathan Aberman, a Virginia-based technology investor who runs an entrepreneurship training initiative called Tandem Product Academy. "We need to have many more companies like Sonatype."
The company is part of a cadre of Washington-area start-ups that have turned cybersecurity into a growth industry for the region. This summer, a Maryland-based company called Tenable Network Security went public after raising more than $250 million from investors. In a separate deal, a Leesburg, Va.-based company called Phishme was bought by a pair of private equity firms in a deal that valued it at $400 million.