OpEx Awards winner EMEA: Insight Partners – Checkmarx

Software security firm Checkmarx expanded its international reach and customer base with the support of Insight’s operational value-add team.

Checkmarx, an Israel-based company specialising in software security solutions, secured an $84 million investment from Insight Partners in June 2015. Checkmarx was founded in 2006, and at the time of Insight’s investment, the business had grown its employee and customer count to over 150 and 700, respectively.

Insight took a scale-up approach to accelerate the company’s geographical reach and build on momentum in the fast-growing cybersecurity market. In order to do so, the GP drew on the expertise of its more than 50-strong operational value-add team Onsite, whose knowhow spanned marketing, pricing, M&A, product, sales and strategy. The team helped Checkmarx catalyse growth by focusing on five pillars. Among these was go-to-market acceleration involving intensified hiring and resourcing in this area, with increased investment in sales and marketing serving to speed up growth.

Insight’s product team helped Checkmarx move from one product to a full suite including static application security testing, software composition analysis, interactive application security testing, and developer AppSec training and awareness capabilities, together with a strong managed services organisation. R&D and cost efficiencies were also achieved through the opening of an R&D centre in Braga, Portugal, in 2016.

Another core pillar of the value creation strategy was inorganic growth; in 2017 Checkmarx acquired Codebashing, an application security education company that provides training for developers. The developer training tool serves as a complement to the Checkmarx Software Security Platform. Insight provided M&A expertise and execution support pre- and post-acquisition.

The GP also supported the company’s expansion in international markets, contributing to its growth in North America and Europe. This included the appointment of former Fortify Software chief operating officer John True to the Checkmarx board, who brought with him extensive operational experience and knowledge of the North American software market. Today, Checkmarx serves over 40 companies in the Fortune 100 and half of the Fortune 50.

Checkmarx now has more than 1,400 customers across 70 markets, and its employee headcount has grown to over 600. In 2020, Checkmarx was named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing for the third year in a row.

Hellman & Friedman acquired the cybersecurity business from Insight in March 2020 in an all-cash transaction valued at $1.15 billion. TPG also partnered with Hellman & Friedman on the acquisition and holds a minority interest in Checkmarx. Insight has retained a substantial minority interest in the company.

The judges were impressed by the company’s “outstanding performance”, particularly the strength of its client base and international expansion, which they said demonstrated a “well-executed growth strategy”. As one judge remarked: “Insight provided critical international go-to market knowhow and support, as well as hands-on operational excellence in several areas, enabling Checkmarx to scale in an impressive manner.”