University spin-off SecurityMatters acquired by ForeScout for 113 million dollars

SecurityMatters, the digital security company co-founded by TU/e professor Sandro Etalle, was acquired US company ForeScout last week. Etalle expects that the Eindhoven branch, which now has 65 employees, will continue to grow as an R&D department.

ForeScout, with San José (California) as its headquarters, is taking over SecurityMatters to grow faster in the market of operational technology network protection. SecurityMatters is one of the global leaders in this explosively growing market. ForeScout has about a thousand employees and is listed on the NASDAQ. Read more about the acquisition in the company's press release.

SecurityMatters was founded in 2009 by Etalle and two of his PhD students  from the University of Twente. The company provides system security of large industrial organizations, such as the petrochemical, automotive and aviation industry, electricity generation and distribution and amusement parks. It started in Twente, but moved to the TU Eindhoven campus in 2014 because of the better availability of security specialists. The company had around 90 employees at the time of sale. Most of them in Eindhoven, 15 in the US, and other employees are located in Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Security professor Etalle is particularly proud of the fact that the company pioneer was in its sector and  created so much value in nine ten years after its’ start. "It is a great success for the whole team and for the universities of Eindhoven and Twente. But also for the Netherlands: there now is a branch in the Netherlands of a new multinational, which invests here in the region." "ForeScout is located in Silicon Valley, but they have chosen to acquire us, far away, in Eindhoven. That says a lot about the quality of what has been realized", says the professor proudly.

One of the advantages of the acquisition is that it will stimulate security research even further, says Etalle. "With ForeScout we are going to have more data to do R & D, so that's crucial. "He also sees benefits for the university. He expects that more joint research projects can be done with ForeScout.

The security professor sees the acquisition as a logical step for the company. "In the end, a customer wants only one point of contact for digital security. In the long term you cannot survive if you remain a specialist. The developments in our market are superfast, and the competition is fierce. "

Etalle was CEO of SecurityMatters for the first few years, and later, until the acquisition, he was the company's Chairman of the Board. After the takeover he will focuses on the relationship between ForeScout and the university. His position as professor at TU/e, for three days a week, is unchanged.