Stories: BlackBerry Is Shopping for File Safety And DRM Startup WatchDox for as much as $200M

Reports: BlackBerry Is Buying File Security And DRM Startup WatchDox for up to $200M

Canadian handset maker BlackBerry has been on a mission to show round its beleaguered handset enterprise by focusing extra on software program, and it seems to be like it has taken a big step in that course, particularly round file safety and DRM. In accordance with reviews coming out of Israel, BlackBerry is shopping for WatchDox, a startup that has developed cross-platform know-how for digital rights administration and for enterprises to share information securely. BlackBerry, the stories say, might be paying between $one hundred fifty million and $200 million for the corporate, and also will leverage its one hundred-individual group in Israel to construct out its R&D operations within the nation.

The information was first reported by Israel’s GeekTime, which says the deal was signed this week for $one hundred fifty million. One other native publication, Globes, adopted up with a report noting that the deal might be confirmed as quickly as at present and will probably be value between $one hundred fifty million and $200 million. We’ve got reached out each to individuals at WatchDox and in addition BlackBerry for a direct remark.

WatchDox was based in 2008 initially as Confidela. Confidela first launched WatchDox in 2009 earlier than finally, it appears, rebranding the entire enterprise beneath the product identify. The corporate, which is headquartered in Palo Alto, has raised almost $36 million, with buyers together with the Blackstone GroupGemini Israel VenturesMillennium Know-how Worth CompanionsShasta Ventures, and Shlomo Kramer.

WatchDox’s progress has partly sprung out of rising consciousness of safety dangers amongst enterprises and people. As extra cellular units are used for work and sharing paperwork, there was an exponential progress of cloud-based mostly providers to retailer information, however that has additionally opened the door to knowledge breaches. Whereas a few of us might take a look at the expansion of organizations like WikiLeaks as a triumph of free speech on the Web, companies may even see it in another way, and that has confirmed to be the wind beneath WatchDox’s wings.

“WikiLeaks, in addition to quite a few smaller doc leakage incidents, have raised consciousness for the necessity to higher safe paperwork as they’re shared inside and out of doors of the group,” Moti Rafalin, WatchDox CEO, stated again in 2011 when the corporate introduced a $9.25 million spherical of funding. “Legacy enterprise digital rights administration and knowledge loss prevention merchandise are failing to deal with the issue, and enterprises are realizing paperwork must be seamlessly protected and managed wherever they go.”

In follow, what WatchDox permits is a platform to securely share paperwork amongst staff and different approved people. When these information have to go away the company circle of belief — for instance to be despatched to somebody outdoors the group — the safety goes with them, in order that, for instance, a video clip or delicate contract or memo can’t be downloaded and posted elsewhere. Presently, WatchDox’s DRM product doesn’t appear to be focused at mass distribution of information, however extra to guard delicate scripts, movies and different digital media in order that it doesn’t get leaked and used elsewhere.

If the acquisition information is correct, it might give BlackBerry an enormous step forward in its personal enterprise safety enterprise. WatchDox at this time works with a whole lot of totally different verticals, itemizing power, finance, authorities, healthcare media and know-how amongst them. At present BlackBerry’s safety providers embrace a collaboration with Samsung KNOX. Having its personal tech would assist differentiate BlackBerry’s greater safety merchandise from these of its companions.

BlackBerry posted a revenue final quarter of $28 million however a variety of that was right down to drastic value chopping, not enterprise progress. Revenues have been $660 million down from $976 million a yr earlier than. Whereas the corporate is intent on pushing forward with its hardware enterprise — this month saying the international rollout of the BlackBerry Leap — it’s betting onerous on software program as a second income stream that may assist it serve customers on different platforms aside from its personal.

It’s nonetheless a really small enterprise for the corporate, nevertheless. In This fall software program gross sales have been solely $sixty seven million, even when that was up 20% on a yr earlier than.

Israel, the place a number of engineers first minimize their tooth on safety on the Israeli Protection Forces, is well-known for its enterprise and safety-targeted startups. BlackBerry won’t be the primary enterprise to construct up their safety R&D presence within the nation via acquisition. Others have included PayPal (which acquired CyActive earlier this yr); IBM (which acquired Trusteer in 2013); and Microsoft (which purchased Aorato in 2014).