Darktrace is a cyber security startup which has a particularly illustrious road map. It is backed by giants such as top Silicon Valley venture capitalists, Wall Street investors and former Autonomy entrepreneur Mike Lynch. After a major round of funding over the summer, it was valued at $450 million.
Now, they’ve hit an even bigger benchmark with their valuation surpassing the $500m mark, City A.M. reported. With this newest development, Darktrace is skyrocketing upwards to an impossible, rarely-reached standard for startups: that of $1 billion valuation. What’s more, this soaring set of zeroes has come at a time when worries surrounding the UK’s ability to produce top tech firms on the scale of Google or Facebook are rampant. If these stats are to be taken into account, then the country is clearly doing something right.
The three-year-old startup’s unique selling point is spotting cybercrime as it happens within the networks of businesses such as HSBC and Drax power station. Its method is employing machine learning and algorithms to identify anomalous behaviour, and is now going even further to tackle the problem with its launch of a new product which can take action against the threats it spots. It also hopes to expand to consumer facing devices which are increasingly connected to the Internet. Another area of influence being considered by Darktrace is driverless cars and smart cities, although significant commitment and work is required in the area to make the technology smaller and more energy efficient.
The firm, with its twin-headquarters in Cambridge and San Francisco, has experienced a lot of organic growth. It was already set at 600 percent in the last financial year, but now the numbers have climbed even more, contributing to Darktrace hitting its milestone valuation figure. The company is therefore in good standing, boasting of top security experts from UK and US spy agencies. In a recent revelation, it has also announced that its “ultimate ambition” is to IPO, speaking to a group of investors and entrepreneurs. That is a milestone to be tackled a bit later on down the line, however. For now, it is determined to concentrate on “growing the company as fast as possible”, a spokesperson said.
This is all excellent news amidst steadily dropping confidence in the UK’s ability to produce and sustain top tier tech companies after the momentous vote to leave the EU, not to mention the acquisition of Arm by SoftBank, the Japanese bank which has also invested in Darktrace via an affiliate fund. To corroborate this optimism, one tech insider indicated that the UK tech sector, which is far less established than Silicon Valley, is maturing fast and ready to produce more success stories.
GP Bullhound co-founder and managing partner Manish Madhvani, said,
It takes time to get to that and there’s no shortcut. In Europe, there’s no issue in creating these billion-dollar companies now, and the UK is the driving force behind that – it contributes the most – but $10bn is always a threshold. We’ve now had our first [in Europe], Supercell, and Spotify is arguably getting to that level now. $100bn is the challenge, and that, I imagine is going to take another five years. But is there an issue of creating companies of scale? Absolutely not.
He added that entrepreneurs “who have been through the cycle once” would be far more well disposed and capable of scaling up their businesses, also saying that judging by the amount of capital coming into the sector and looking at ambitious entrepreneurs thinking more globally earlier on, the UK definitely has a maturing sector on its horizon.