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Tampa cybersecurity firm gets seven-figure local investment

Margie Manning



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Ballast Point Ventures, a venture capital firm in Tampa, invested $4.85 million in Abacode, a Tampa managed security services provider.

Abacode will use the Series A growth equity investment to scale its sales, its security operations center and itsproject execution teams, as well as to broaden its marketing efforts and further enhance its technology-enabled service offering, a news release said.

Michael Ferris, CEO, Abacode

It’s the first outside investment for five-year-old Abacode, Michael Ferris, co-founder and CEO, told the St. Pete Catalyst.

Abacode works with mid-size and larger businesses. The company monitors, detects and responds to cyber threats and provides a suite of governance, risk, and compliance readiness services helping companies prepare for third-party audits and certifications.

“Cybersecurity and compliance isn’t just a component of what we do, it’s our sole focus,” Ferris said in the news release. “We not only help drive enterprise strategy but also deliver and implement the most appropriate services and solutions. This is very unique in the market and the real value is providing client leadership a way to finally make holistic business-driven decisions instead of tactical product-driven decisions.”

Abacode partnered with Clearwater-based IT distributor Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD) last year to help Tech Data’s partners and their clients prepare for cybersecurity audits and certifications. Last month, Abacode hired a chief revenue officer, Toney Jennings, who is charged with accelerating the company’s growth trajectory, geographical footprint and sales members, along with growing Abacode’s digital presence. Jennings is a retired Air Force officer and business executive.

Ferris said Ballast Point Ventures was “the right partner at the right time.”

Sean Barkman, a principal at Ballast Point Ventures, will join the Abacode board of directors.

“The Abacode team has made great progress growing its customer base, service offering, and organization during the company’s short history,” Barkman said. “This is an exciting opportunity for [Ballast Point Ventures] to partner with an impressive management team we have known for a few years now, who are building a leading compliance-oriented cybersecurity business in a dynamic industry segment.”

Ballast Point is one of the largest venture capital firms headquartered in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area with $360 million under management across three funds. The firm generally invests in software, technology-enabled business services and healthcare companies in Florida, the southeast United States and Texas. Other local investments include Symphonic Distribution, a digital music distributor in Tampa; PowerChord, a digital marketer in St. Petersburg; and PDQ South Texas, a fast-casual restaurant with operations in Tampa and St. Pete as well as Austin and Houston, Texas.

Abacode was one of two investments Ballast Point announced this week.

Ballast Point separately invested $4.5 million in Spotio, a Dallas-based software company providing cloud-based sales acceleration and performance management solutions for field sales personnel. Ballast Point’s Barkman also will join the Spotio board of directors, and Robert Faber, a partner at Ballast Point, will be a board observer.

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