Ann Arbor was abuzz Thursday morning after the announcement by Cisco Systems that they were acquiring local startup Duo Security. Duo has been a significant player within the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem since they were founded in 2009. It was less than a year ago when the company achieved the coveted unicorn status — being valued at more than one billion dollars — after its Series D round of financing.
“On the heels of it raising the largest round of venture capital in our history and becoming Michigan’s first unicorn, the acquisition of Duo Security by Cisco Systems is terrific news,” said Paul Krutko, Ann Arbor SPARK CEO and president. “This deal offers a contrarian narrative to the myth you need to be located on a coast to attract this type of attention. As we’ve seen before, global firms are paying attention to the technology being born and raised in Ann Arbor, and consider the companies driving those innovations a solid investment.”
This is yet another example of Ann Arbor’s growing role as a significant player in the tech industry, solidifying its title as the Silicon Valley of the Midwest. Cisco recognized that value in a statement from the company following the announcement: “Michigan’s resources, rich talent pool, and infrastructure make it very desirable to Cisco. Cisco continues to be committed to Michigan, and our acquisition further advances this support. Cisco will continue Duo Security’s investment and presence in southeastern Michigan, as we continue to grow and expand the Duo business.”
According to Bill Mayer, Ann Arbor SPARK vice president of entrepreneurial services, “Milestones such as the Duo acquisition will have a positive influence on Ann Arbor’s entire tech ecosystem. High-value exits are a necessary ingredient to the ongoing success of the region.” Other recent Ann Arbor startups with significant acquisitions include the 2016 acquisition of Deepfield by Nokia and the 2015 acquisition of Sakti 3 by Dyson.