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Palo Alto Networks announces venture fund to drive security innovation

Fund will help fuel a new model for security application development and consumption

Palo Alto Networks has partnered with two venture capital firms to set up a $20m venture fund to provide early-stage capital investments for security applications to run on its security platform.

The announcement follows the unveiling of a cloud-based application development framework for the Palo Alto Next-Generation Security Platform, which the company claims will disrupt and change the security industry completely within a decade.

“This fund will help to find other ideas to build on top of the platform to turn it into a thriving ecosystem,” Lee Klarich, executive vice-president of product management, told Ignite ’17 in Vancouver, Canada.

The fund is expected to collaborate with Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital to identify and evaluate innovative security applications for potential co-investment and is aimed at seed-, early- and growth-stage security companies with a cloud-based application approach.

These companies will be able to accelerate their routes to market for their respective technologies by developing cloud-based applications built on the Palo Alto Networks platform.

By providing capital, the fund will enable entrepreneurs and security suppliers to focus on developing high-value functionality for customers, instead of developing the infrastructure and data stores necessary to effectively deliver their applications and establish a foothold in the market.

The Palo Alto Networks platform is designed to help customer organisations to more easily access, evaluate and adopt new advanced security capabilities and activate cloud-delivered security applications from different providers as their security needs change.

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“This new fund will build on our reputation for developing innovative, next-generation security technologies and demonstrate the excellent momentum we have achieved with our ecosystem of security partners,” said Chad Kinzelberg, senior vice-president, business and corporate development, at Palo Alto Networks.

“It represents an essential part of our mission to help organisations prevent cyber breaches by inspiring and accelerating a groundswell of security innovation in a model that can easily be accessed and deployed by customer organisations.”

Asheem Chandna, partner at Greylock Partners, said Palo Alto Networks’ new security application development model is an important milestone for the security industry, and holds “huge potential” for customers, entrepreneurs and developers. “We are excited to team with Palo Alto Networks to help entrepreneurs accelerate development in cloud-based applications, to serve a rapidly growing customer base that includes tens of thousands of the world’s most important customers,” he said.

Jim Goetz, partner at Sequoia Capital, said many early-stage security startups have excellent ideas, but struggle to reach customers. “By tapping into this fund and application framework, companies can get their technologies to market faster and into the hands of Palo Alto Networks customers,” he said.

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