Tech Industry

Symantec invests $18 million in spam filtering start-up

The antivirus software maker is dropping money into Brightmail, a start-up that creates filters for junk email.

Antivirus software maker Symantec today announced its $18 million investment in Brightmail, a start-up that creates filters for junk email.

The funding, which will give Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec an 11 percent stake in Brightmail, marks the first time the company has made a strategic investment in a pre-IPO company. In addition, Symantec executive vice president Dana Siebert will join the board of directors of San Francisco-based Brightmail.

Earlier this year, the two companies created a joint antivirus and antispam product. Symantec spokeswoman Genevieve Haldeman said the company will benefit from the new relationship by capitalizing on Brightmail's Internet service provider and application service provider customer base.

"Brightmail is very much focused on the entire service provider space," Haldeman said. "We are traditionally focused on the enterprise market, corporate customers."

Symantec's investment represents about half of the $35 million that Brightmail raised in a third round of venture financing. Critical Path, which makes email systems for corporations, was another key investor.

"The fact that the leaders in the security and message management sectors--along with several top-tier VCs--are investing in Brightmail is sure validation that we are on the right track with our solutions and market potential," Brightmail CEO Gary Hermansen said in a statement.