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A full financial quarter after going public, Fortinet is proving to investors and partners alike that it can perform in even the toughest of markets, announcing yesterday that it grew its fourth quarter 2009 revenue by 20 percent compared to fourth quarter 2008.

"Q4  was strong and in 2009 we kept it growing and even in the downturn," Ken Xie, CEO of Fortinet, told Channel Insider yesterday. "We keep gaining market share and the new products we offer keep getting better and better compared to our competitors."

According to Xie, one of the biggest coups of 2009 was the rapid increase of deal size. The number of deals over $100,000 and $250,000 nearly doubled on both counts. He believes a lot of that had to do with the legitimizing factor of the IPO, which went through in November 2009 and was pegged by analysts with Renaissance Capital as IPO of the Year for 2009.

"The IPO definitely created a lot of visibility and also helped us open the door more easily," Xie said. 

As a vendor that runs its sales 100 percent through the channel, Fortinet has long depended on resellers to pump up its performance, and in 2009 that was no different, Michael Valentine, vice president of Americas Sales and Support for Fortinet, told Channel Insider. He believes 2010 could be a bulwark year for Fortinet’s partners, as the IPO affords them even more opportunities to sell.

"I think that the IPO did a lot of things for us, but it also did a lot of things for our partner. Now with a public company there are a lot of hurdles that they no longer have to go over, such as for any type of RFP or any type of state bid, having our financials public makes it that much easier to put our product forward," Valentine said. "And as far as any long-reaching deals go, the end user usually wants to know that that the vendor is going to be around. So they look into the financials, they see the strong sheet and it really has just boosted the confidence not only in the resellers selling our product, but also in the people that are buying our products."

As Fortinet and the channel head into the new year, Valentine said that partners can expect to see continued tweaks and improvements to the Fortinet partner program.

"We’re constantly upgrading and making sure that our deal registration program meets the needs of our partners and as the channel evolves and becomes more mature and as the marketplace has new demands, we’re keeping up with that," he said.

Additionally, the channel should expect to see renewed investment by Fortinet in marketing as the company looks to leverage the increased awareness of its brand following its public offering. As a result, channel partners should expect to see Fortinet make more Co-op and MDF funds available in 2010.

"We’ll keep investing in the channel and also the marketing program working together with the channel," Xie says. "We’ll have some big pushes at RSA in March and also quite some activity going on this year more than last year."