Simplifying the Complexity of a Cybersecurity Sell-side Process

ShadowDragon provides publicly accessible information (PAI) and open-source intelligence (OSINT) software, data, and training to enable customers to prevent and attribute actions of threat actors in both the physical and digital world. ShadowDragon’s solutions are used by hundreds of businesses, as well as intelligence and law enforcement organizations around the world. The company is based in the United States.

The Situation

Daniel Clemens founded ShadowDragon to provide the “good guys with the right tools to fight the bad guys…and win.” The ShadowDragon team experienced tremendous growth without a formal sales effort demonstrating the value of their cybersecurity solutions. A hacker at heart, Daniel’s true passion lies with innovating versus running the business’s day-to-day operations. He understood the need for greater business operational knowledge to grow faster and accelerate innovation to help customers proactively respond to even the most advanced threats. We advised Daniel until the time was right, shepherding him through the entire lifecycle of the transaction from the business perspective and helping him personally think through what he needed to do to prepare for the transaction and beyond.

Industry
  • Technology & Software
Client Type
  • Owner/Founder
Services Provided
  • Sell-Side Transactions
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The Strategy

From early on, Daniel was consistently being approached by buyers. After evaluating the potential of ShadowDragon, our advice was to grow the company and offerings before going through a process. Five years later, ShadowDragon was a unicorn software company with referenceable customers, high retention, outstanding growth metrics, and strong profitability. Our focus was casting vision around the potential of the business and educating buyers on the significance of the niche cybersecurity sector where they played. The company was outperforming relative to their peers, and there were numerous opportunities for growth through expanding partnerships, formalizing infrastructure, creating a sales/marketing team, considering integrations, and more.

The Execution

We ran a broad process reaching out to more than 150 potential buyers. When over 75% expressed interest, we knew the challenge would be narrowing the field to find the right partner for Daniel and the ShadowDragon team. That partner needed to embrace the company’s unique culture, respect the team’s values-driven approach, and professionalize the business without disrupting the engineers who were focused on innovation and solutions. We set up a number of authentic and transparent conversations to identify synergies and fit. At the same time, we introduced Daniel to service providers to prepare him personally for the sale.

The Results

Alongside Daniel and his team, we were committed not just to getting a deal done, but getting the right deal done with the right structure and the right partner. Ultimately Sverica Capital Management’s experience, collaborative approach, and respect for what Daniel built made them the perfect fit for ShadowDragon. The partnership has already proven successful as COO Jonathan Couch joined the team, and progress has been made to build out a formalized sales and marketing strategy.

The Ascend Advantage

The complexity of M&A can be overwhelming—from both a business and personal perspective. We pride ourselves on helping owners navigate the challenges and opportunities of selling their business—whether that means simply providing advice or diving in deeper and taking a hands-on approach. We understood and respected the importance of this moment for Daniel, his team, and his family.