Cash Pours In for E-Mail Security Vendors

IronPort Systems announces a $45 million funding round, while competitors CipherTrust, FrontBridge Technologies and others also rake in the dollars to strengthen a technology analysts say is maturing quickly.

Continuing a hot streak for e-mail security vendors, IronPort Systems Inc. on Monday announced a $45 million funding round. The San Bruno, Calif., company is just the latest recipient of venture capital this year in a space thats growing up quickly.

"Were starting to see some maturation of the technology," said Jonathan Penn, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. of Cambridge, Mass. "These are very good products at catching spam, and now its more about greater messaging security—beyond content scanning and into compliance, policy enforcement or outbound security."

As enterprises scramble to implement the most effective security solutions, VC (venture capital) firms have scrambled to pump cash into the market. IronPort competitor CipherTrust Inc. of Alpharetta, Ga., closed a $42 million round in March.

FrontBridge Technologies Inc., based in Marina del Rey, Calif., received another $10 million in August, while Denver-based MX Logic Inc. closed $11 million last month.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here for a review of CipherTrusts IronMail product.

Consolidation is another path to cash for the vendors. Brightmail Inc., which analyst firm Forrester has called the "overall leader," was prepping for its IPO when security firm Symantec purchased the company in June for $370 million. Forresters Penn said his clients regularly see just a half dozen solutions vying for sales, including IronPort, Brightmail and CipherTrust, among others.

"Everyone really evolved over the past year," said Shelly Soffer, a spokesman for IronPort competitor BorderWare Technologies Inc., based in Ontario. "[The industry] has gone from anti-spam point solutions to 10 or 15 solid players offering appliances and services."

Four-year-old IronPort has yet to break even, but nonetheless on Monday announced record third-quarter sales of $16.5 million.

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