Take it as another sign that BYOD is here to stay and VCs are on the hunt for innovators that ease the management challenges posed by enterprise mobility.
Atlanta-based AirWatch, a mobile device management (MDM) specialist, announced today that it had completed a round of Series A financing totaling a staggering $200 million. The startup plans to use the new funds to bolster its efforts to advance and popularize its content collaboration platform called Secure Content Locker and acquire other companies. Insight Venture Partners, an IT and Internet-focused venture capitalist firm, led the round.
AirWatch CEO John Marshall noted that the funding arrives during a period of tremendous growth for the company. Being early to the MDM party also paid off.
“With an enhanced balance sheet and greater financial strength providing much more stability than our competition, this investment is a significant step to reinforce our solutions during a critical market pivot,” said Marshall in press remarks.
According to the company, it’s attracting customers at a breakneck clip — over 500 new clients each month. AirWatch has also notched some big enterprise contracts. Its tech is in use “by the top three global Fortune companies” and “six of the top 10 global airlines” to name a few.
The injection of fresh capital can only help add momentum to AirWatch’s fast ascent, said chairman Alan Dabbiere.
“We’ve had outstanding success building the industry leader with no outside capital,” said Dabbiere in a statement. “This funding will allow us to continue to build the most flexible and innovative enterprise mobile management solutions in the world,” he added.
The funds will only get AirWatch so far. The company will need to stay on its toes as rapid advancements in mobile technologies, the rising popularity of bring your own device (BYOD) programs and growing competition roil the MDM market.
In an example of the volatility of the MDM space, Resources for Human Development, a human services nonprofit with 4,000 employees, passed on deploying AirWatch in 2011 because it lacked iPhone support. Fast-forward a year, and AirWatch was among the first MDM providers to offer to support for the new Apple iPhone 5.
AirWatch also faces stiffer competition. IBM just announced a sweeping revamp of its enterprise mobile portfolio called MobileFirst with a focus on MDM, mobile analytics and application development. Even security software makers are getting in on the act.
Sophos’ new EndUser Protection product layers endpoint security with mobile device management (MDM) capabilities. Earlier this month, Kaspersky unveiled Endpoint Security for Business: Select, a product that similarly blends endpoint protection and systems management with MDM features.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.