Telstra just invested millions in the company investigating Russians hacking USA politics

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The venture capital arm of Australian telecommunications giant Telstra has joined in a $US100 million investment round for the security firm investigating Russian hacks into US political institutions.

CrowdStrike, which made headlines for discovering Russians were responsible for hacking Democratic National Committee emails during the presidential election campaign last year, secured the capital injection yesterday in a round led by existing investor Accel.

A Telstra spokesperson confirmed that its contribution was between $US5 and $US10 million, which is the typical range for its Telstra Ventures arm. The telco was already a customer of CrowdStrike’s artificial intelligence-based protective software for personal computers and other “end point” devices.

Telstra Ventures managing director Mark Sherman said using the technology first-hand convinced it to actually invest in the company.

“We have been impressed by the innovation and effectiveness of [CrowdStrike’s] Falcon platform,” he said.

“We have already successfully introduced CrowdStrike to some of our business customers and we are excited to strengthen our partnership through this investment.”

The latest $US100 million round brought the total investment in CrowdStrike to $US256 million and valued the company at more than $US1 billion.

The startup claims that it has end point presence in 176 countries, allowing its Falcon system to process 40 billion security events each day — making it “one of the biggest threat databases in the industry”.

CrowdStrike co-founder and chief executive George Kurtz said that having customers become investors was a powerful testimony for the company’s technology.

“I can’t think of more powerful validation for our technology and vision than having our existing investors deciding to double down on their backing and being the only company in our industry that is funded by three customers.”

Despite the high-profile work on the Russian hacking case, it hasn’t all been good news for CrowdStrike – in February, the company failed to enact a restraining order to prevent testing centre NSS Labs from revealing results of a comparison test between it and competitors.

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