McLean cybersecurity solutions firm Cycurion Inc. is going public early next year via a merger with the special purpose acquisition company Western Acquisition Ventures Corp.
Cycurion, which offers cybersecurity services to government and commercial clients, expects to raise about $113 million in the deal and intends to use the proceeds to acquire smaller companies and eventually triple its headcount.
The planned merger, announced Nov. 22., is coming at what has been a challenging time for SPACs, also known as blank-check companies, as market volatility and heightened scrutiny of the vehicles have made it difficult for many to find suitable merger partners.
Cycurion CEO Emmit McHenry said he opted to partner with New York-based Western Acquisition Ventures because he believes the SPAC’s executives share his vision for the company’s future.
“We’ve had other SPACs that have talked to us and we’ve said no,” McHenry said in an interview. “They had a couple people on the staff that really got it and that made all the difference in the world.”
Since it was founded in 2017, Cycurion has grown to a total of 80 employees and plans to triple in size over the next 12 to 18 months. Even with that planned growth, though, McHenry isn’t sure the company needs all the space it occupies at 1749 Old Meadow Rd., since most of its employees work remotely or on customer sites. The lease is up for renewal next year.
McHenry is also eyeing acquisitions and is looking for companies that have built technology that would allow Cycurion to broaden its base of clients.
Cycurion provides cyber protection services to such government clients as the Department of Defense and the Defense Intelligence Agency and to corporate clients that include Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Corp. It also provides closed and encrypted networks for individuals.
McHenry is perhaps best known as the creator of the .com domain. In 1993, his company, Network Solutions, won a government contract with the National Science Foundation to create the system that granted the first domain names for the fledgling internet. The company managed the world’s first domain registry and set up the suffixes of .com, .net, .edu, and .gov, laying the groundwork for everything that came after.
McHenry sold Network Solutions in 1995 to Science Applications International Corp. in Reston for a modest $5 million, before the commercial potential of the internet was fully known. In 2000 SAIC sold Network Solutions to Reston-based VeriSign Inc. for $21 billion. McHenry has said he has no regrets about almost becoming a billionaire.
Today, McHenry is fully aware of the commercial potential of providing cybersecurity services. Citing figures from the research and publishing organization Cybersecurity Ventures, he said that the total costs of cybercrime attacks could reach $10.5 trillion by 2025. Other research by tech industry analysts at Forrester Research fond that global cybersecurity budgets are expected to top $174 billion by 2024, he added.
But for the U.S. Marine Corps veteran, it’s not just about the money.
“For us this a bigger mission than just making some money by being a technology company,” McHenry said. “It’s really a mission of trying to make sure that our nation, state and our individuals are protected from intrusions.”
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