PRAGUE, Czech Republic and LONDON, UK, August 23, 2010 - AVAST Software, developers of the world’s most popular antivirus program, today announced that growth equity investor Summit Partners has invested $100 million for a minority stake in the company.
"Summit Partners' investment is a vote of confidence in our disruptive ‘freemium’ business model, which combines a full-fledged free product with a premium one," said Vince Steckler, CEO of AVAST Software. "This approach is already upsetting the traditional antivirus market. Instead of paying for advertising or installation on new computers, AVAST continues to experience dramatic growth as fans of avast! recommend our products to their friends. Word-of-mouth from our large and loyal satisfied customer base is certainly the most effective—and low-cost—form of advertising."
avast! antivirus now protects one out of every five computers around the world from malware. Its award-winning protection is based on the Community system of user-submitted data on suspected viruses and infected websites. Independent testing confirms that avast! Free Antivirus protection meets or exceeds the performance of most paid products.
"'Freemium' is the wave of the future," added Mr. Steckler. "Together with Summit Partners, we will continue our strategy of providing a quality, free antivirus solution to the widest possible audience. We have no plans to change our approach and conform to the classic retail positioning model.>"
The cofounders of AVAST Software, Eduard Kucera and Pavel Baudis, have seen the number of virus threats and the scope of their business grow dramatically in the past two decades. "After writing a program to remove the Vienna virus back in 1988, it was about six months before I saw another virus. Now our Virus Lab adds 3,000 new virus samples a day to its database," said Mr. Baudis, AVAST Software Virus Guru.
"When we first launched free distribution of avast! antivirus in the early 2000s, we gave ourselves room to grow—but never dreamed that the product would gain such global popularity," said Mr. Kucera, Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Scott Collins, a Managing Director of Summit Partners who will join the AVAST Software Board of Directors, said, "Under the direction of its CEO Vince Steckler, and its cofounders, Pavel Baudis and Eduard Kucera, AVAST Software has carved a unique position in the global marketplace for security software. We are pleased to invest in AVAST and look forward to working closely with Vince and the entire management team to support the company's continued growth."
Han Sikkens, a Principal in Summit Partners' London office, added, "For 26 years, Summit Partners has been investing in profitable, innovative leaders in the security software industry, and it is rare to find a company such as AVAST that redefines how an industry does business. We are very excited about the growth prospects of this exceptional company."
ABOUT SUMMIT PARTNERS:
Summit Partners (www.summitpartners.com) is a growth equity investor that provides private equity and venture capital to rapidly growing companies. Founded in 1984, Summit has raised more than $11 billion in capital and has provided growth equity, recapitalization and management buyout financing to more than 300 growing companies across a range of industries and geographies. Summit Partners seeks outstanding management teams that have built their companies to market leadership. Notable investments in the security market include McAfee, Postini (acquired by Google), SafeBoot Holdings BV (acquired by McAfee), and Sybari Software (acquired by Microsoft).
"In the United States of America, Summit Partners operates as an SEC-registered investment advisor. In the United Kingdom, this document is issued by Summit Partners Limited, a firm authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Summit Partners Limited is a limited company registered in England and Wales with company number 4141197, and its registered office is at 20–22 Bedford Row, London, WC1R portfolio companies."