The “deep and dark web” is not an area average Internet users finds themselves surfing. But for Cisco Investments Deal Manager Prasad Parthasarathi, working with one of their portfolio companies with a presence in this nefarious corner of the cyber world enables him to protect client business interests and help skyrocket the portfolio company’s profile.
100,000 Foot View
As part of the Cisco Investments team focused on cyber security, Prasad keeps an eagle-eye perspective on industry transformations and trends.
“Cybersecurity is a complex marketplace because it’s extremely fragmented and new segments are constantly being created,” he said. “There are about twenty-five sub-segments with niche, point solutions. There are very few players who are capable of stitching an integrated security architecture spanning all these markets. Cisco is best positioned to complete this architecture.”
From a market standpoint, Prasad notes that though there are many promising cyber security startup disrupters raising capital, many still struggle. However, one that he’s had a hand in helping successfully secure funding while keeping pace with havoc-wreaking deep and dark web characters is Flashpoint.
Delving Into the Dark Web
Founded in 2010, Flashpoint empowers decision-making processes, supported by the company’s team of “white hat hackers, multilingual maestros and intel geeks.” The Flashpoint team speaks more than 15 languages and their SMEs are the cornerstone of the active and relevant intelligence they deliver.
“We blend SME expertise and agile adaptive technology to provide insights, intelligence and data from the deep and dark web,” said Josh Lefkowitz, Flashpoint CEO and Co-Founder. “From cyber security to non-traditional uses, the company works largely with clients in the financial industry, with representation in retail as well.”
Flashpoint’s relationship with Cisco began in 2015 when Cisco invested in them during the A and B funding stages. Prasad collaborates with Josh and his team, serving as an evangelist for Flashpoint inside Cisco. Prasad partners with multiple Cisco stakeholders in articulating the strategy for the two companies to tap into market opportunities. “My role is to demystify Flashpoint for Cisco and simplify Cisco for Flashpoint, in the process influencing how we accelerate our trajectory in the threat intelligence space.”
“The Internet we’re familiar with is the ‘open web.’ That’s where we’re sharing and consuming content,” he said. “What we’re not aware of, are the sites where bad actors have the same level of collaboration. That part of the web is extremely crucial to Cisco and our customers.”
Cisco’s nimbleness as an organization enables Prasad’s team to scout and pursue investments in companies like Flashpoint. And the cybersecurity market in particular is seen as a timely opportunity for Cisco to join network endpoints and cloud solutions.
“We are excited by new technologies that are cloud first and augmented by an uncomplicated go to market motion. We are thrilled to work with companies that will inject new cybersecurity DNA to address new set of security challenges.”
From a security investment standpoint, Prasad remains focused on disruptive technologies and architectures that are capable of addressing coherent use cases.
About Prasad Parthasarathi
|Prasad Parthasarathi joined Cisco Corporate Development in 2015 to focus on acquisitions, investments and inorganic strategy in the Security space. Prior to Cisco, Prasad worked in HP’s Corporate Development group where he evaluated and led a variety of transactions including acquisitions, divestitures, IP licensing, joint ventures and equity investments across Security, Enterprise Software and IT Services. Prasad joined HP from EDS Corporate Development, where he executed acquisitions in the Consulting & Systems Integration space and was a key member of the deal team that advised the EDS leadership on its $14B sale to HP. Prior to HP / EDS, Prasad held positions in Business Strategy and Corporate Finance in Singapore and India.
Prasad earned an MBA in Finance from the Indian School of Business (ISB) and studied at the Duke University on a student exchange program. In addition, he holds an undergraduate degree in business.