BlackBerry buys document security company WatchDox

WatchDox will form the basis for a new R&D center for BlackBerry in Israel

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 21, 2015
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3d4b

One of the keys to BlackBerry's turnaround has been to pretty much abandon consumer markets and put its focus on the enterprise. With increased worries over security, though, especially following the Sony hacks last year, part of that will mean keeping those enterprising clients feeling safe

That is why BlackBerry announced on Tuesday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire WatchDox, an Israeli SaaS-based document-centric security platform enabling organizations to control their critical documents via mobile devices. 

While no terms of the deal were disclosed, initial reports have pegged the price at around $150 million.

Founded in 2008, WatchDox enable enterprises to secure their files wherever they are against widespread threats, and to facilitate collaboration while protecting files wherever they go. It currently counts over 150 of the Fortune 1000, including the largest civilian federal agencies, 6 of the top 12 private equity firms and most of the 6 major Hollywood studios as clients. 

The two companies will work well together because they have the same goals, Moti Rafalin, CEO and Founder of WatchDox, wrote in a blog post

"WatchDox and BlackBerry share a mission to deliver superior productivity, ultimate security, and effective communications to the most demanding enterprises around the world, and together we can deliver the industry’s most complete portfolio of user-centric secure productivity applications," he said. 

"This news will make a significant impact for our company as we realize our vision of making files secure and users productive everywhere files are, everywhere files go, and on every device."

WatchDox's technology will be offered as a value-added service in BlackBerry's Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) portfolio, and will be available with BES12, a multi-OS EMM solution. But for BlackBerry, acquiring WatchDox not only allows it to increase its security features; it will also allow the company to expand its reach, as WatchDox will form the bases for a new BlackBerry R&D center in Israel.

For WatchDox, nothing much will change, according to Rafalin. Its customers "should expect business with WatchDox to continue as usual," but from now on it will be able to offer them more robust services.

"Perhaps even more importantly, customers will benefit from the integration of our two companies’ products to form the industry’s most complete and secure solution for enterprise mobility and collaboration," he said.

This is only BlackBerry's third acquisition since John Chen took over as CEO in 2013. 

The company purchased Secusmart GmbH, a high-security voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping solutions for government organizations, enterprises and telecommunications service providers, and then bought Movirtu, which enables employees to have two phone numbers, one for business and the other for personal use, with separate billing as well.

The cybersecurity space

Cybersecurity has become a big deal since the Target and Sony breaches over the last few years. Even President Obama recently started making declarations abiut further punishments for such attacks.

Since it started making headlines, venture capital took notice as well, and started putting ore money into these types of startups. In the last 5 years, $7.3 billion has been invested into 1208 private cybersecurity startups, according to CBInsights

In 2014, funding for cybersecurity startups broke the $2 billion barrier for the first time while deals grew to a total of 269.

Some of the companies that have raised the most funding in the space over the last couple of years have included Good Technology, which raised $80 million; Lookout, which raised a $150 million round; Okta, which rased a $27 million Series D funding round; Bit9, which raised $38.25 million; and Veracode, which raised a $40 million funding round.

VatorNews has reached out to BlackBerry for further comment. We will update this story if we learn more. 

(Image source: watchdox.com/us)

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