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Huddle, which makes cloud collaboration software for businesses, just got a pretty important endorsement in the form of a strategic investment from In-Q-Tel, the CIA-backed organization charged with finding, vetting and investing in key technologies for use by the intelligence community and government agencies.
The size of the investment — as you probably guessed — is not public. In-Q-Tel (aka IQT) has previously invested in companies including big data startups Digital Reasoning and Platfora. Huddle, based in London with offices in San Francisco, is already heavily used by the British government and now hopes to sign up a lot of US government work as well, CEO Alistair Mitchell told me in a recent interview.
With IQT, Huddle is working on a version of its cloud collaboration platform — which often competes with Microsoft(s msft) SharePoint and Lotus Notes/Domino(s iBM) — that meets U.S requirements. That work is now underway at the Department of Homeland Security and the National Geospatial Agency. The US government is encouraging the use of cloud technologies with its “Cloud first initiative.”
There is burgeoning demand by companies and government agencies for secure but easy-to-use collaboration and file sync tools. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies are particularly gun-shy about letting consumer-focused services like Dropbox in the door given their requirements for data security. Huddle clearly hopes that this IQT alliance will help it prove its service to be viable for use in these organizations
“If you look at what’s out there — sort of defined by Dropbox and for the last year — all we hear about is data breaches so now there’s a bunch of vendors out there to address the business case for secure file sharing,” said Terri McClure, senior analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group.
This company is interesting because it’s already proven itself in the British government and now this deal makes it look attractive to the US government as well, she said.
Huddle netted $24 million investment in May, bringing the total investment at that time to $40 million and claims huge sales growth over the past year.