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Darktrace ‘worth £2.5bn-£3bn’ in cyber security flotation

Poppy Gustafsson.jpg

Cyber security company Darktrace could be worth £2.5 billion or more by the end of April after it announced its plans to float its shares.

Darktrace uses artificial intelligence (AI) for enterprise security, focused on cloud and networks, as well as the internet of things (IoT) and industrial control systems.

Some reports this morning suggested the company could be valued at as much as £3 billion. Darktrace has not yet announced its pricing.

CEO Poppy Gustafsson (pictured) said: “Since our foundation in 2013, our mission has been to apply fundamental technology to one of the most critical challenges facing organisations in all sectors: cyber security. Every second, autonomous cyber AI responds to an attack without requiring human intervention — transforming the organisation’s ability to protect their most critical data and intellectual property.”

She said: “Our intention to list on the London Stock Exchange marks a major milestone in Darktrace’s history of rapid growth, and a historic day for the UK’s thriving technology sector.”

Darktrace, based in the UK’s technology hub in Cambridge, already has more than 1,500 employees and says it has 4,700 customers.

In the details of its initial public offering (IPO), published this morning, Darktrace said its “AI immune system approach is self-learning and continuously evolving, understanding clouds, networks, endpoints, users and their interactions”.

The company said “this powerful technology will have many applications across a variety of sectors”, adding: “Through an understanding of a customer’s business, the platform can detect aberrations to an individual customer’s ‘normal’ digital operating state, thus providing a revolutionary security production, complementary to traditional perimeter-focused security approaches, and can neutralise threats across digital businesses that would otherwise go unnoticed.”

The company sells by offering new customers a “proof of value” trial, and claimed: “In 2020, approximately 74% of POVs identified serious vulnerabilities in a prospective customer’s digital estate, providing a clear demonstration of Darktrace’s value proposition.”

Gustafsson, a mathematician who joined the company in 2013 as CFO before becoming COO and then, in 2016, CEO, said: “Darktrace’s success has been built on the shoulders of giants: our world-leading position is testament to the strength of the UK’s world-leading science base and long history of mathematical discovery and computing inventions, from Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace to Alan Turing.”