KKR-backed cybersecurity startup KnowBe4 readies for U.S. IPO

According to sources familiar with the matter at hand, KKR-backed cybersecurity startup KnowBe4 Inc, is preparing for its U.S. initial public offering (IPO). The startup helps train employees to detect phishing emails.

In 2019, KnowBe4 had raised $300 million in a private fundraising round led by buyout firm KKR & Co. It has now engaged the services of investment banks to help with its IPO preparations, which could launch either later this year or in early 2021, said sources.

The IPO could value KnowBe4 at over $2 billion, said a source.

Sources however cautioned that the potential listing plans, are subject to market conditions. They preferred the cover of anonymity since the matter is confidential.

Both, KKR and KnowBe4 declined comment.

Founded by entrepreneur Stu Sjouwerman in 2010, KnowBe4 educates employees at various companies on how to detect fraudulent emails and other potential online threats.

Demand for the Tampa, Florida-based startup’s services have increased in the coronavirus induced COVID-19 pandemic, with more companies adopting work from home plans for their employees, which means boosting the information technology systems of employees at their homes.

According to Gartner, a technology research firm, “worldwide spending on information security and risk management technology and services is expected to reach $124 billion in 2020”.

KnowBe4’s IPO plans come at a time when there is a surge in U.S. capital markets, which is seeing the public debuts of high-profile, venture-backed tech startups such as DoorDash, Airbnb, Asana, and Palantir Technologies, towards the end of 2020.

During the last week of August, around two dozen companies filed registration statements to go public.

So far, companies that have gone public in the United States have raised more than $70 billion this year, the second-biggest yearly haul since 2000.


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