Matthew J. Weber – Arctic Wolf Networks
For years, Arctic Wolf Networks’ growth was supported by a lean in-house legal team. But as the startup cybersecurity specialist grew past a certain point, it realized the need to enlarge its legal staff for a specific process: mergers and acquisitions. One candidate stood out.
Matthew J. Weber had been aiding Arctic Wolf as an all-purpose corporate securities transactions and corporate governance attorney in the Bay Area offices of international law firm Gunderson Dettmer. With Arctic Wolf in full growth mode and Weber’s hourly fees racking up with every complicated transaction, be it venture capital financing or acquisition, Chief Legal Officer Andy Hill finally welcomed him into the “Wolf Pack” in March 2022. Weber didn’t need much orientation.
“I told them, ‘I’m more expensive as your outside counsel,’” Weber recalls during a lively Vanguard interview in October. “Working with Arctic Wolf had been great for my legal skills development and career growth, and I wanted to continue doing that. I could have either stayed at the firm to pursue a potential partnership role or gone in-house, but I told them that in-house, I’ll be much more effective at supporting the team.”
That he’s been. Weber manages the minutia that accompanies steroid-like corporate growth. He counsels the corporate development, finance and accounting departments. He simplifies matters for the executive team as Arctic Wolf fills a niche as a cybersecurity go-to for medium to large companies that lack a security operations center for managing cyber risk. Public entities and nonprofit institutions round out the clientele, and as Weber emphasizes, there’s a growing demand for the most comprehensive cybersecurity as hackers become more sophisticated.
“We aspire to complete the cybersecurity profile, from endpoint to network protection and beyond,” he says. “What sets us apart is our ability to be a concierge service for managing all risk.”
A growing den
What Arctic Wolf can’t assemble, it acquires, and with Weber fine-tuning the legal details, it just added Revelstoke Security to its den. That company created what’s recognized as among the most advanced security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) platforms that Arctic Wolf is counting upon to enhance the connection between its own capabilities for detecting and responding to cyber threats.
The recently finalized acquisition consumed much of Weber’s summer and autumn, his to-do list having included overseeing such details as negotiating a definitive agreement of merger and reorganization and poring through Revelstoke’s internal documents for due diligence. After he shepherded the Arctic Wolf team through the ultimate execution of the merger agreement, the transaction breezed through the closing process, and Revelstoke officially became a part of the pack.
Now that the deal’s sealed, other Arctic Wolf team members will take over the integration while Weber moves on to what comes next. “My job is to facilitate acquisitions smoothly,” he says. “That’s essential because we’re growing so fast.”
He’s helped standardize the M&A process, developing an internal platform from negotiation to integration. Before his arrival, Weber says the modus operandi wasn’t so well defined, but now it’s become more comprehendible for other personnel.
“It cannot be overstated how much value is brought to a transaction by having an M&A leader within the company who not only has so many prior at-bats under his belt, but who is someone with a sound business eye watching over the real needs of our company for a deal.,” says Odin Olson, Arctic Wolf’s head of corporate development. “It’s a difference maker.”
Arctic Wolf’s strength, he says, is in the pack and how it’s grown in the seven years since Weber began serving the company. The workforce soared from 100 in 2017 to 1,500 when he joined in 2022 and has since increased to 2,300 while the revenue of this still-private company continues to grow at a healthy rate. As essentially the only core team member who knows the legal intricacies of mergers and corporate securities transactions, he can take his share of the credit.
On the money
When Weber functioned as Arctic Wolf’s outside counsel, he helped solidify the company’s financial footing through fundraising rounds that garnered over $400 million. He also handled dozens of board and stockholder actions, employee equity issuances, and other securities matters. Six months after his hiring, he helped spearhead the raising of $401 million in convertible notes, which positions the company for further expansion, especially for additional acquisitions.
While Revelstoke has been the most recent acquisition, others preceded it, increasing Arctic Wolf’s technological offerings. In addition to Weber overseeing that process, he counsels on company fundraising, board and stockholder activity and internal governance.
“It’s been a great success story, both for Arctic Wolf and me,” he says. “My ongoing goal is to intersect the legal and business procedures and have my boots on the ground for acquisitions. It’s a complicated legal process.”
And it’s part of Weber’s wide-ranging role in his first in-house role, which he serves remotely from San Francisco. He doesn’t get lonely; other Arctic Wolf executives live in the Bay Area, and all travel as needed to the company’s headquarters in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie.
A 2016 UCLA School of Law graduate, Weber honed his skills for five-and-a-half years at Gunderson Dettmer, specializing in representing emerging growth companies, including Arctic Wolf, which was founded in 2012. While he sees himself as a future general counsel one day, he won’t rush the process, there being so much to do at his present employer and life in the Bay Area being so fulfilling.
Getting another buzz
A man with many interests, Weber and his wife, Austin, got into beekeeping in 2022—they were inspired by a San Francisco honey seller who, concerned with the plight of bees, found relatively sheltered areas in this crowded city to place more than 50 hives. The Webers followed suit, planting a couple of hives in their Marina District yard and were amazed at the results.
By autumn 2022, they had harvested 240 pounds of honey while leaving enough of the sweet stuff in the hives to sustain the bees over the winter. This year, they’ve harvested another 175 pounds so far, selling much of it for a modest profit but doing it mostly for the enjoyment and feeling that they’re aiding an environmental cause.
Of course, there are some hazards to this hobby.
“I’ve been stung 20 to 25 times,” Weber says. “But that was mostly last year. Most beekeepers use less gear the longer they do it, but I admit I’m double-gloving.”
And similarities abound between beekeeping and his professional life. Mergers and acquisitions also call for a deft touch. Sans due diligence, the details can sting the entire company.
But that hasn’t happened on Weber’s watch.
“It’s been a crazy 18 months with the company’s growth so rapid, including through acquisitions,” he says. “We’ve got a lofty mission to end cyber risk, but we’re up to the challenge.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Winter I 2024 Edition here.
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