KnowBe4, one of the fastest-growing technology companies headquartered in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area, hasn’t had a president since it was founded a decade ago.
Now it has two.
Chief Financial Officer Krish Venkataraman and Chief Revenue Officer Lars Letonoff were promoted to the roles of co-president. They will also keep their current roles. Stu Sjouwerman, KnowBe4 founder, will remain CEO.
The promotions follow the November appointment of a high-profile tech executive to KnowBe4’s board of directors. Gerhard Watzinger, who chairs the board of of Silicon Valley-based cybersecurity company CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: CRWD), is now an independent board member at KnowBe4.
“With today’s co-president announcement and the continued development of our already stellar board, we are putting all the right pieces in place to support the next phase of our organization’s exciting evolution,” Sjouwerman said in a news release. “Together, Krish and Lars are the right leaders, at the right time, to further build and communicate KnowBe4’s leadership position and set the stage for our next chapter.”
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The new executives will support a “hypergrowth strategy” for KnowBe4, a Clearwater-based cybersecurity training firm with a simulated phishing platform. The company had $72.3 million in revenue in 2018 when it was No. 161 on the Inc. 5000. It hasn’t provided an updated revenue figure for 2019, but has posted double-digit sales gains for each quarter of 2019, including fourth quarter 2019 growth that was up 54 percent over Q4 2018.
Venkataraman joined KnowBe4 in September 2018. He is a veteran Wall Street executive who held senior leadership roles at fintech company Dealogic and software firm Syncsort, among others.
Since joining KnowBe4 “Krish has attracted world-class investors, helped us achieve some of our best financial metrics to date, and dramatically improved our approach to finance by applying big data strategy and insights … With his skill in driving strategic outcomes, in his expanded role as co-president, Krish will be instrumental in getting the laying the groundwork for the organization’s future and effectively communicate to the investor community,” Sjouwerman said.
Letonoff has been with KnowBe4 since 2011 when it was a startup. He has developed the organization’s sales processes and sales team, and is responsible for all areas of global sales.
“Lars built our customer base from less than 100 to more than 31,000 client organizations around the globe and helped us achieve 27 straight quarters of growth, an unprecedented achievement in our industry … He knows our industry, our organization, and our customers,” Sjouwerman said.
KnowBe4 is privately owned, with financial backing from venture capital firms Elephant Partners and Ten Eleven Ventures, global investment bank Goldman Sachs and private equity investor KKR. KKR led a $300 million funding round last year that valued KnowBe4 at $1 billion and made it a unicorn, a designation for a technology startup that’s valued at $1 billion or more.
KnowBe4 was named Tampa Bay Tech’s Tech Unicorn of the Year during the poweredUP awards program in November.