Michael Dell bankrolls Eagle Eye Networks

Dell Computers founder makes his first investment in the physical security industry


Cloud-based VMS provider Eagle Eye Networks announced on Thursday that MSD Capital, the private investment firm of Dell Computers founder Michael Dell, has made a multi-million dollar capital investment in the company.  In addition to Dell, Enrique Salem, the former CEO of IT security firm Symantec and current board member at FireEye, also participated in the current round of funding for the company.

“Eagle Eye is the first company in physical security where I have personally led with the investment decision,” Dell told SIW via email. “The major reason I invested in Eagle Eye is because I believe in Dean Drako’s execution as founder and long-time CEO of Barracuda Networks.”

According to Drako, Eagle Eye’s president and CEO, these funds will be used by the company to help them build out data centers as they grow and to also recruit more resellers.

“The funds are going to be used to support the growth because we’ve got the demand for the growth and we’ve got to execute on the growth,” explained Drako. “As a cloud provider we actually have to build out data centers so that we have the infrastructure to support the customers coming in. We’re also going to be using it to expand sales and marketing to basically crank up the growth even further.”

Drako said he believed the investment by Dell and Salem were indicative of the traction that Eagle Eye has been able to gain the video surveillance market in what has been a relatively short amount of time.  

“It’s just another indicator of the acceptance and success we’re having in my mind. We launched the company in January, we launched our reseller program in February, we’ve been getting tremendous amounts of interest and excitement and folks buying and deploying the system,” said Drako. “We’re ramping quite drastically… and this is just another group of key folks who are very smart and can kind of read the tea leaves of where industries move and they want to join with the team to help me push (Eagle Eye) forward.”  

Dell said that he has “high confidence” in Drako to make Eagle Eye a successful player in the VMS market and that he’ll “be available to help if needed.”

“Eagle Eye Networks will bring tremendous advances in video surveillance with a 100 percent cloud-managed system that meets rigorous security requirements,” Dell added. “Cloud technology is transforming the video surveillance industry, with broad applications spanning both security and business operations.”

Drako added that investments by these high-tech pioneers in the video surveillance market are another sign of the continuing convergence between IT and physical security.

“When all of the security devices start to move to IP communications, when door controllers are doing IP and your cameras are doing IP, that IP infrastructure is provided by the Dells and the Ciscos of the world. Their interest starts to go up and the involvement of the IT department is on the rise,” said Drako. “Some people will still put their head in the sand and say, ‘oh IT is not involved in these decisions.’ But IT is now one of the players at the table in these surveillance and security decisions because they’re expected to provide services or support to keep it running. They may not be 100 percent responsible or they may not be the customer, but they certainly have some input into it at this point.”

Now that they have secured this substantial investment, Drako said they must “execute, execute, execute” to take the company to the next level.

“I think we’ve got the core technology to make cloud video surveillance work, especially with our flex storage-type of solution that allows us to work very effectively in low-bandwidth environments, as well as our powerful, proprietary bandwidth management technology,” said Drako. “I think that we’ve got to basically get out to the channel to the resellers and help them understand or enable them to build recurring revenue business models so that they can build stronger businesses.”

This content continues onto the next page...