Heidi Petit | CNBC
George Kurtz, co-founder and CEO of cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, met on Wednesday morning when his e-mail was suddenly bombarded with news alerts.
"I'm like," what, what? What is happening? "," Kurtz told CNBC in an interview in the afternoon in San Francisco.
Kurtz's inbox exploded and he was bombarded with text messages from friends after CrowdStrike's name appeared in a summative call in July between President Donald Trump and Vladimir Zelensky, President of Ukraine. The White House released a summary of the backdrop of pressure from House Democrats who put Trump's conversation with Zelensky at the center of the impeachment investigation.
"It was unclear, to be honest," Kurtz said of Trump's comments. "But this morning was a bit of a shock."
The name CrowdStrike was probably called by Trump, as the company assisted the Democratic National Committee in investigating the 201
CrowdStrike responded on Wednesday, saying in a statement that it "provides all forensic evidence and analysis to the FBI" and that "we stand by our findings and conclusions, which are fully endorsed by the American intelligence community."
Kurtz told CNBC that government work represents a significant amount of company revenue, although he said that does not change the numbers. He said CrowdStrike works with governments at local, state and federal levels, both in the US and abroad. He emphasized that the company was "non-partisan."
"We protect both Democrats and Republicans," he said.
CrowdStrike shares fell below 1% on Wednesday to $ 62.02 after falling to 4% earlier in the day. The stock rose 82% from its debut price in June, when CrowdStrike raised $ 612 million in an IPO. In its prospectus, CrowdStrike identified expansion within the US federal government as one of the seven parts of its growth strategy.
Kurtz is meeting with CNBC ahead of a trip he is taking to Singapore and Australia this weekend to meet current and future clients as part of a 100-day campaign. He will travel with Mike Carpenter, President of CrowdStrike for Global Sales and Field Operations.
Although he did not expect to address the comments made by the president, Kurtz said that electoral interference remained a major problem in the 2020 election.
"We have to be concerned about intelligence gathering between the two countries, which we saw in 2016 – intelligence gathering from other participants, but against both parties," he said. "It's probably going to get worse before it gets better."
Here is what President Trump said about CrowdStrike in his conversation with Zelensky:
"I would like you to find out what happened to this whole situation with Ukraine, tell CrowdStrike … I suppose you have one of your rich people … The server says Ukraine has it. "
– Ari Levy contributed to this CNBC report.
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