Security giant Sophos buys Cork analytics start-up Barricade

2 Nov 2016

This is the third big exit for David Coallier, having previously sold Orchestra to Engine Yard. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

In great news for Cork, infosec giant Sophos has acquired David Coallier’s Barricade for an undisclosed sum, bringing real-time analytics to the war against cybercrime.

This is the third major exit for Coallier, who, along with Eamon Leonard and and Helgi Þorbjörnsson, sold Orchestra to Engine Yard in 2011. He previously sold his first start-up when he was just a teenager.

Coallier has also invested in ventures such as Trustev, which was sold last year to TransUnion for $44m.

Senior vice president of the Security Cloud Group at Sophos Bill Lucchini, explained to that the acquisition was inspired by Barricade’s analytics technology, but also the location of the company in Cork from a talent perspective.

“Our core product gives millions of transactions of security information and that data is very powerful.

“What David’s team brings to the equation is the ability to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to figure out what is really happening, and provide unique insights to IT teams around what is being detected.”

Cork is a core location for IT security know-how

This is the second major acquisition of a tech company in Cork in recent weeks, with Facebook-owned Oculus acquiring InfiniLed for an undisclosed sum.

“As we looked at potential acquisitions, Barricade came to the top of the pile because of its technology and its team,” Lucchini said.

“We also certainly liked the location in Cork. We are excited about it because Cork is a really good market in terms of access to analysts, new graduates and the fact that there are so many other tech security companies in the market.

“We intend to retain the location and we like it a lot. We would love to grow the site but our priority in the near-term is integrating David and the team, growing the sales and growing the vision.”

Coallier said the company was in the midst of a funding round and had already spurned acquisition offers from two other tech companies that were interested in buying Barricade.

“When Sophos approached us, we realised how they could help accelerate the achievement of our vision.

“The key to that is to get more data to build better AI, and this will give us access to tonnes of data to fine-tune the technology, achieve greater sales and a greater user experience.”

Lucchini believes that AI will be a central pillar to influence the future of security.

“Intelligence will be core to repelling ransomware attacks for example,” Lucchini added.

Updated, 12.45pm, 3 November 2016: This article was updated to point out that Eamon Leonard co-founded Orchestra with David Coallier, not Eamon Ryan.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years