$50 million raised by UK Cybersecurity start-up Darktrace, company valued at $1.65 billion

Following a funding round that yielded $50 million, the market valuation of the British cybersecurity start-up Darktrace touched $1.65 billion.

With backing from existing investors KKR and TenEleven Ventures, European private equity firm Vitruvian Partners led the most recent investment round in the company.

Detection and countering of cyber threats is done through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning technology by the Cambridge-headquartered Darktrace which was founded in 2013. The investment is a Series E round, which is the fifth major funding round of a venture.

The Enterprise Immune System as Darktrace calls it, is a technology that imitates the functioning of the human immune system. This technology makes use of an algorithm that helps it to monitor patterns and then adjust to understand what constitutes normal and suspicious cyber behavior.

And in order to respond to any threats automatically, the technology also makes use of what is known as autonomous response technology which either slows or shuts down the system or device or a connection which is suspected to have been compromised. The company has recently launched a second version of the autonomous response technology that it calls Antigena and which is aimed to stop malicious emails.

Cloud, the so-called internet of things and industrial control systems are among the areas that Darktrace deploys this technology. Britain’s London Gatwick Airport and American insurance giant AIG are among its customers. According to a statement from the firms, over 7000 networks throughout the world now make use of its technology.

In May this year, Darktrace surpassed the $1 billion valuation mark with a valuation of $1.25 billion which enhanced its ranking to be among the world’s so-called unicorns. The current valuation of the firm marks a 32 per cent increase in its valuation within just the last four months.

Recent incidents of cyber threat around the world have increased the demand for and resulted in rapid growth of cybersecurity and AI industries. A 12.4 per cent increase would be noted by the cybersecurity industry which has been anticipated to reach $114 billion this year according to estimates of research group Gartner. The total market for AI industry would is also expected to make a year-on-year growth of 70 per cent this year to reach $1.2 trillion.

“They have got a really good record investing in high-innovation firms, especially in high-growth markets,” Darktrace Co-Chief Executive Poppy Gustafsson, who heads up the firm alongside Nicole Eagan, said about the investments in a television interview.

“So given our objective, which is we have to increase our global footprint and expand into those different regions, that’s something they were able to support us with.”

The new investments would primarily be used for international expansion and for the company to venture into markets of Asia and Latin America.

“What the funding does is it means that we can seize all of these opportunities as they present themselves,” she said. “So, for example, last year we opened eight new offices around the world including Los Angeles, and today we’ve got 33 global offices.

“But there’s still some phenomenal growth in both Asia and Latin America and fundraisings such as these really mean that we’re able to seize those opportunities as they present themselves.”

(Adapted from CNBC.com)

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