- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2000

Alexandria-based network security firm Riptech Inc. plans to announce today it will get an infusion of $23 million in venture capital.

Columbia Capital, co-founded by likely Democratic candidate for Virginia governor and wealthy Alexandria businessman Mark Warner, will lead the investment in Riptech.

It will be the first round of venture capital investment in the high-tech security firm.

"This is probably not the last round of financing we'll do," Riptech chief executive Amit Yoran said.

Mr. Yoran and Chief Technical Officer Tim Belcher started Riptech in 1998.

Riptech, a privately held company with four U.S. offices, will use the venture capital to help fund its international expansion. The company plans to open offices in Europe and Asia next year. That will let its computer security experts track hacker attacks around the clock, Mr. Yoran said.

Riptech is the second local security firm to attract capital in the last two months.

Infrastructure Defense Inc., an Alexandria-based computer-intelligence firm, announced a $35 million investment last month from a group of companies led by Itochu Corp., a Japanese aerospace, electronics and multimedia firm.

While Infrastructure Defense's specialty is in keeping on top of the hacker community and its new viruses, Riptech's specialty is in security management and monitoring of corporate computer networks.

Both businesses are examples of the increased concern companies have in protecting their computer systems. That concern began to grow after fears of a year-2000 computer bug began fading, said Richard Dean, program manager of information security services at Framingham, Mass.-based research firm International Data Corp.

As a result of increasing fears over computer security, especially among Web companies conducting electronic commerce, computer security firms began to proliferate, he said.

"Companies like Riptech are competing in a space that's growing very rapidly, and that's why venture capitalists are willing to invest in them. If these companies were into mainframe maintenance, you wouldn't see the same interest in investment," Mr. Dean said.

Riptech has 105 employees now. As the venture capital fuels its growth, the company plans to grow to 250 employees by the end of next year, Mr. Yoran said.

Providence Equity Partners, based in Providence, R.I., is joining Columbia Capital in the venture capital investment in Riptech.

Columbia Capital has $1.4 billion under management. Providence Equity has $2 billion under management.

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