Cybersecurity firm Trend Micro announces $100M startup fund

Security firm Trend Micro is the latest corporate to jump into the startup investment world after it unveiled a $100 million corporate fund today. It is predominantly looking at opportunities in the internet-of-things (IoT) space, but the exact scope of how it will operate is not clear.

The company is headquartered in Japan and listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, where its current value is around $7.5 billion, but it was initially founded in the U.S. in 1988. Today it is present in over 50 countries, with over 5,000 staff, and is best known for IT security products that include threat detection and antivirus. Now it is looking to the startup world for fresh ideas, innovation and approaches. The idea, in its own words, is “to dive into new areas without disrupting core business resources.”

“Working with these investments will uncover insights into emerging ecosystem opportunities, disruptive business models, market gaps and skillset shortages. These learnings will influence Trend Micro’s cybersecurity solution planning across the company,” it said in a statement.

Unfortunately, the company declined our request for an interview to go into the specifics of the investment thesis of its fund, including the kinds of companies it is targeting, what investment stage it is looking at, typical check size, etc, so we will have to wait to learn more.

It did later add that it is looking at making 15-20 investments per year, with no particular focus on location. Already there are “several” deals in the pipeline, according to President and Chief Operating Officer Wael Mohamed, who said the firm will give details of its investment deals before the end of 2017.

The fund is an “initial” $100 million, which implies it could be increased or be topped up over time. Trend Micro is hoping that, beyond supplying the necessary cash, it can appeal to startups by giving them an avenue into its experience, products and a network that it says spans more than 28,000 partner companies.

While the immediate area of investment isn’t clear, Trend Micro did place plenty of focus on IoT. Founder and CEO Eva Chen called it “the next wave” for the technology industry, following on from ‘the PC marketplace’ and the cloud, which Chen said were waves one and two, respectively.