British Cybersecurity Startup Raises New Funds for $1.65 Billion Value

(Bloomberg) -- British cybersecurity company Darktrace Ltd. said it raised $50 million in venture capital funding, giving the five-year-old startup a valuation of $1.65 billion.

It’s a $400 million increase since May, when Bloomberg reported the company had been valued at $1.25 billion during a secondary share sale, in which European private equity firm Vitruvian Partners acquired holdings from two early investors.

Vitruvian led the latest funding round with participation from existing investors KKR & Co. and 1011 Ventures, and its managing director, Sophie Bower-Straziota, said she had been excited by Darktrace’s "highly effective business model," which had helped it scale rapidly.

Darktrace Chief Executive Officer Nicole Eagan said via email the funding will help fuel the company’s "global expansion as we continue to hire at scale and ramp up operations in key markets, for example, across Asia and Latin America."

The Cambridge, England-based company was founded in 2013 by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge and veterans of the U.K. and U.S. intelligence agencies, and incubated by Invoke Capital, the venture vehicle run by former Autonomy Chief Executive Officer Mike Lynch.

It uses machine-learning technology to detect unusual activity on clients’ networks that could indicate the presence of a hacker. Increasingly, its systems also work to contain and mitigate these threats.

While Darktrace was one of the first to offer a "behavioral" approach to cybersecurity, it now competes with dozens of other vendors, including Vectra Networks and firms like Palo Alto Networks and HPE, which have either acquired or built systems to perform similar network analysis.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.