British bot management vendor Netacea looks to channel to help drive expansion into North America

Netacea is also announcing their U.S.-based leadership team, led by Senior Vice President of U.S. Sales Peter Berg and Vice President of Channels and Partners Kirk Horton.

Peter Berg, Senior Vice President of U.S. Sales, Netacea

Today, Manchester U.K-based Netacea, a 2018 startup which makes bot detection and mitigation solutions, is announcing their physical expansion into the North American market. This includes a new U.S.-based leadership team, led by Senior Vice President of U.S. Sales Peter Berg and Vice President of Channels and Partners Kirk Horton. It also includes a commitment to a hybrid channel model, which will include a channel program, as well as the announcement that New York-based master reseller UPSTACK is one of the channel partners who have signed on.

“This is a full-fledged expansion into North America, backed by lots of dollars and lots of investment,” Berg said. “It reflects the fact that 70% of our target market is in North America. We developed this for three years in Manchester for the U.K. customer base, and saw from there that this is a powerful solution. By word of mouth, and through a Forrester Wave report from two years ago, we began to get requests from US customers. So while we had been selling to the U.S. out of the U.K., we determined that now was the time to launch a full U.S. operation.”

Berg acknowledged that Netacea is a comparative latecomer into the market, which makes it important for them to have a significant technology differentiation.

“When you enter a market a little later, one strategy for a large market is taking market share by brute force,” he said. “But with a specialty market like this, you have to do something different. You have to take a next-gen approach to an older problem. Our competitors use older technology than we do.”

Netacea’s approach begins with throwing the agents out.

“We offer agentless bot management, so that there is no additional software in the customer environment – no new JavaScript, and no SDKs,” Berg said. “Many customers don’t want them now because they consider that they are too risky. We take a server-side approach, which looks at log data before it hits the website, and make extensive use of big data and machine learning.”

Berg said that being a point solution in an environment where many vendors are now extolling platform strategies and a reduction in vendors hasn’t been hurting them.

“It would be tougher if we were not in security,” he stated. “What we have found in security is that the best technology always wins, so that whether we are a platform or not doesn’t really matter. We also integrate well with other solutions, and have been talking with several MSSPs about integrating into their solutions.”

Horton indicated that in his talks with prospective partners, they had been more concerned about four specific things.

Kirk Horton, Vice President of Channels and Partners, Netacea

“Is it easy to sell,” he said. “Is it easy to implement? Does it have a short time to value, and does it have best of breed technology?”

The ideal market for the Netacea solution is larger companies.

“We are seeing between 7 and 10 billion in losses from malicious bots annually, and the larger the company the bigger their problem, Berg noted.  “We deal with the world’s larger banks, retailers, and large companies in gaming, travel and tourism. They tend to be companies with $500 million in revenue and up.”

The plan is to sell in North America through both a direct sales force and a channel.

“Our board and senior leadership, when they were interviewing me, believed channels would need to be a part of the program,” Berg stated. “We had a large early opportunity in flight brought to us by a U.S. partner. But it will be a harmony model, not a pure channel one.”

The intent is to build out a select channel which can provide broad coverage.

“The plans for expansion of the program sold to the board was a controlled rollout of the program,” Berg said. “We know who we need to know, and we will have two tiers of partners. One is managed services and security VARs, of which there are five really meaningful ones in North America, and one is what used to be called traditional master agents, who are now labelled as sales consultants. There are 6 to 7 of these who are relevant to us. There are also a few large independents. In sum, there will be fewer than 20 relationships with which we will be involved, but it will encompass a couple of thousand sellers. We want ones who know how to position this and who are prepared to succeed.”

One partner was announced at the launch, although others have been signed. New York-based UPSTACK is an application developer with platform that can be used by their partners, so they basically operate like a master reseller.

“This kind of company, which includes others like Avant and Intellisys, are in existence because they can spot trends,” Berg noted. “All are focused on building out security because areas like colos are still annuity streams, but not high margin like they used to be 10-15 years ago. Today, even the cloud is heavily commoditized.”

“Companies like UPSTACK have large equity investments to acquire subagents, and are acquiring a lot of those,” Horton said. “Some of these are companies we would engage with directly, and now we get to them collectively. It saves us from having to manage 200 relationships.”

The channel program is being formally announced today, although it is in the process of being designed.

“We need to incorporate all the correct elements to enable partners,” Horton emphasized. “That includes an administrative aspect, a financial model, sales enablement tools, sales collateral, and sales and MDF programs. That’s what we have been doing, putting all the right pieces in place to make the program highly successful.”

Canada is a part of Netacea’s plans as well.

“UPSTACK has sales coverage in Montreal Toronto and Vancouver,” Berg indicated. “We also have one well-known Canadian security firm in mind as a partner.”

“We are dealing with a Pacific Northwest Master Agent with a presence in Canada,” Horton added.

“We are also talking with one of the largest banks in Canada as we speak, and we expect that we will work with them through a partner,” Berg said.