Trident heightens cyber security focus with dedicated fund, brings on managing director

Trident Capital is heightening its focus on cyber security with a new early-stage fund aimed exclusively at the sector.

As part of the new fund, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm will add a managing director to its cyber security investment team. Sean Cunningham, presently a director at Intel Capital, will join the firm on Sept. 21.

Under the new strategy, Trident has spun out its early-stage Trident Capital Cybersecurity Fund I and will maintain a separate growth fund. The cyber security fund will focus on seed, A and B rounds in the security space and has targeted $200 million. Managing Directors Donald Dixon, Alberto Yépez and Cunningham will run it.

“We’re building a franchise here,” Dixon said.

Trident Capital Fund VII, the firm’s previous $360 million 2010 fund, invested in growth and early-stage deals, and its early-stage focus included cyber security, but also other sectors, such as adtech.

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Sean Cunningham, joining Trident Capital as managing director on Sept. 21.

Ten years ago, cyber security wasn’t large enough for a dedicated fund, Dixon said. “Now it clearly is.”

Cunningham began making investments with Intel Capital in 2000 and has done six deals alongside Trident. “We have a long track record with him,” Dixon said.

Cunningham, in an interview, said he was attracted by the dedicated focus of the new fund. “I think it’s a huge deal,” he said.

There is a lot of money pursuing cyber security deals, but in some ways the sector is underserved, he said. “I think it’s underserved (by a lack of) people who truly know the market.”

Cunningham has had such exits as the sale of Solera Networks to Blue Coat Systems and American Express’ purchase of Accertify.

He said he would look closely at such areas as mobile security fraud, behavioral data analytics, next generation identify platforms and social network security vulnerabilities.

This story first appeared in affiliate magazine Venture Capital Journal, which is published by Buyouts Insider. Subscribers can read the full story and related content on cyber security by clicking here. To subscribe to VCJ, click here for the Marketplace.

Photo illustration of secure laptop courtesy of Shutterstock.

Photo of Sean Cunningham courtesy of Trident Capital.