Financial Times

Cyber secuirty group Darktrace earns $825m valuation

Group founded by Cambridge mathematicians raises $75m for AI approach to threats
11th July 2017

Darktrace, a cyber security company founded by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, has raised $75m in a fundraising led by Insight Venture Partners at a valuation that makes it one of the largest British start-ups in its field.

The company, which uses artificial intelligence to detect and respond to threats, is now valued at $825m after increasing the value of its total contracts by 140 per cent to $200m in the past year.

Darktrace’s latest fundraising round also included contributions from existing investors Summit Partners, KKR and TenEleven Ventures.

Nicole Eagan, Darktrace chief executive, said the fundraising was another “critical milestone for the company”, which is headquartered in Cambridge in the UK and San Francisco in the US.

“We [are experiencing] unprecedented growth in the US market and are rapidly expanding across Latin America and Asia-Pacific in particular, as organisations are increasingly turning to our AI approach to enhance their resilience to cyber attackers,” she said.

Darktrace is one of a number of cyber security start-ups raising large rounds, as they seek to make the most of corporate demand for new defensive technologies. FirstFT Sign up to your daily email briefing Be briefed before breakfast with this round-up of the best global stories.

In the US, four large cyber security start-ups have raised at least $100m each in recent months, including Cybereason, which also uses AI to detect intruders; CrowdStrike, a cloud security platform; Cylance, a next generation anti-virus software maker; and Illumio, which secures data centres and cloud services.

Many cyber security companies predicted a rise in sales after the fallout from the WannaCry virus — malicious software that swept through major companies and the UK’s National Health Service, demanding a ransom for the return of encrypted files.

Since then, multinationals including Maersk have been hit by another major cyber attack, which cyber security experts believe was the work of a nation state, disguised as ransomware. Reckitt-Benckiser and Mondelez warned last week that the cyber attack had hit sales at the consumer goods companies.

Jeff Horing, managing director at Insight Venture Partners, said it had invested in Darktrace because it had grown into a “world leader” in security powered by artificial intelligence.