A flurry of deal-making activity has struck the cybersecurity industry.
CrowdStrike is preparing for an imminent initial public offering that could value the company at $6 billion. Elastic, maker of a Splunk-like data trawling product, just snapped up Endgame, a CrowdStrike competitor, for a comparatively measly $234 million. Investment firm Insight Partners bought out a portfolio company, threat intelligence firm Recorded Future, for $780 million. And Cisco, Palo Alto Networks, FireEye, and Imperva have all made cybersecurity-oriented acquisitions over the past couple weeks.
What’s behind all this market consolidation? One possibility: fears of a coming recession.
Ron Gula, a cybersecurity investor and alumnus of the U.S. National Security Agency, tells Fortune that whispers of a possible downturn may be provoking people to plan for a drought. Venture capital firms use the circumstances to persuade startups to accept new fundraising, or to apply pressure on their investments to cash out.
Entrepreneurs, eyeing a potential cliff on the horizon while also watching rivals get subsumed by acquirers, may find the time for an exit ripe. Peer pressure mounts: As more exits take place, “this can create a sense of urgency” among founders to follow suit, Gula says.