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Tampa tech firm Digital Hands gets $15M from Atlanta-based investor

Margie Manning

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Digital Hands, a cybersecurity services company, has flown under the radar for most of its 18 years of operations.

Now, the Tampa company is ready to emerge from stealth mode.

Charlotte Banker, CEO, Digital Hands

Fulcrum Equity Partners is investing $15 million in Digital Hands, giving the company growth equity, said Charlotte Baker, Digital Hands CEO.

“Digital Hands is at an inflection point where the growth opportunity was really tremendous and bringing in the right strategic equity partner to accelerate our growth was appropriate,” Baker said. “The new funding will be used to invest in our people, to further develop our own IP, and for sales and marketing.”

The funding is among the larger investments in a company headquartered in the Tampa-St. Pete area so far this year, as well as the largest investment year to date in a female-led local company, based on the most recent data from Venture Monitor,  a collaboration between PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association, and the most recent MoneyTree report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights.

It’s the first institutional capital round in the nearly 18-year history of Digital Hands, which was founded in October 2001, just 45 days after 9/11.

“We have financed the company on a $440,000 angel round in 2002 and business operations, a kind of novel concept, the old fashioned way,” Baker said.

Digital Hands is a seasoned company, and Baker knew exactly what she was looking for in an investor. Fulcrum Equity Partners, headquartered in Atlanta and with an office in St. Petersburg, fit the description. The company has about $350 million under management and focuses on providing expansion capital to rapidly growing companies.

“All the partners and principles are former operators. They’re former C-level talent, they’ve been in our seat and in our chairs. They’ve been on our side of the equation and they have a proven success record and a good reputation for working with entrepreneurial companies and helping them grow,” Baker said. “I talked to their entrepreneurs, did the reference calls and reference checks. I was looking for how did they work with you. We wanted someone who came in and wasn’t just a financial machine. We wanted someone who truly understood how to greatly scale the operation.”

Fulcrum has targeted the high-growth cybersecurity segment as a key area of investment focus, said Frank X. Dalton, a Fulcrum partner who now serves on the Digital Hands board as well as the board of PhishLabs, a portfolio company and cybersecurity firm in Charleston, South Carolina.

“Digital Hands really stood out due to its long-standing client relationships, quality service delivery, and highly differentiated processes and intellectual property,” Dalton said in a news release. “The caliber, breadth and technical expertise of the management team further validated the significant growth opportunity that exists.”

Digital Hands provides companies with comprehensive managed security service options. The company actively supports more than 40 cybersecurity technologies. It will use the equity investment to expand service offerings designed for large enterprises to include mid-tier companies that need the same protection.

Digital Hands recently partnered with Ingram Micro, an Irvine, California-based technology wholesaler, to provide Security Operations Center-as-a-Service capabilities for Ingram’s security platforms along with new managed security services for Ingram’s network of channel partners.

Digital Hands has been expanding its leadership team as well.

In March, the company hired Myrna Soto as chief operating officer. She previously was a partner at ForgePoint Capital, focusing exclusively on cybersecurity investments. Before that, she was a corporate senior vice president and global chief information security officer at Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA), a telecommunications and media conglomerate.

In June, Charlotte Kibert joined Digital Hands as vice president of customer success, and John Salmon became vice president of sales. Both will report to Soto.

Salmon was an original member of the Trustwave team in 2002, and developed and executed that company’s go-to-market strategy, growing from $4 million to several hundred million dollars in annual revenue.

Kibert previously held executive positions with Concertium, Ausra Group, Vology and Vital Network Services and has been responsible for partner management and channel relationships with such companies as IBM, AT&T, Centurylink, World Wide Technologies, Cisco, Microsoft and Tech Data.

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