Michael Dell makes ‘multi-million dollar’ investment in VMS provider Eagle Eye Networks

Enrique Salem of Symantec and Austin Ventures also participated in Series B funding
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Thursday, July 31, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas—In his first personal investment in physical security, Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc., today announced a “multi-million dollar” investment in VMS provider Eagle Eye Networks.

“Eagle Eye is the first company in physical security where I have personally led with the investment decision,” Dell told Security Systems News in an email interview.
 
Eagle Eye, a cloud-managed video management system launched in January by Dean Drako, an entrepreneur who co-founded Barracuda Networks in 2003, will use most of the funding to build infrastructure, namely data centers, Drako told SSN.

Both Eagle Eye and Dell are based here in Austin.

Dell said the “major reason I invested in Eagle Eye is because I believe in Dean Drako’s execution as founder and long-time CEO of Barracuda Networks.”

The Series B Funding came from MSD Capital L.P., Michael Dell’s private investment firm. Also participating in the round were Austin Ventures and Enrique Salem, former CEO of Symantec and current board member at FireEye.

Drako declined to tell SSN the exact amount of the investment.

“Michael and a few other folks … learned about Eagle Eye and had a strong interest in contributing and assisting in its growth,” Drako said.

Dell “is not on our board or [working with us] in any official capacity, but he has offered to do whatever he can to assist when we need help, or where he can help.”  

“Michael has been selling IT products for a long time. He understands the business models [and how business is conducted] in different countries,” Drako pointed out.

Currently Eagle Eye Networks has three data centers, two in the U.S. and one in Canada.

Drako said that his other business, Barracuda Networks, has a “dozen data centers around the world” where the company stores “around 60 petabytes of data … several hundred racks of equipment in a small building.”

Because video takes up more room than other data, he anticipates building larger data centers for Eagle  Eye. They’ll be located in North America and in other locations around the world.

Funds will also be used to expand Eagle Eye’s sales and engineering teams and to build out the company’s reseller channel. Already, he has “about 100 resellers who have signed up in the last five months. … I'm pretty pleased.”

Currently Eagle Eye has 30 employees. Eventually, the company will be about one-third engineering, one-third sales and one-third support, Drako said, but right now, Eagle Eye is “still heavily engineering—about 70 percent,” he said.

Eagle Eye’s earliest deployments have been in retail, QSR, corporate offices, homeowner associations, day care centers, “all over the map” in terms of vertical markets, Drako said.

Drako believes that the need for flexible storage capacity and off-site redundancy is driving adoption of cloud solutions because they’re “more efficient for multi-site integration and upgrades, while also delivering much better access to the video content and camera status.”
 
What do Eagle Eye and other cloud-based technology providers need to do to get more physical security integrators to embrace these technologies?

Drako said that “providers must manage the bandwidth usage, [and] meet rigorous security requirements. Further, they must not tie users to a particular camera, so they can retain their investment existing analog cameras, and also have the flexibility select the right ONVIF-compatible IP cameras for their business. Eagle Eye has addressed all three of these major obstacles to adoption.”