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3 February, 2021 - 15:57 By Tony Quested

Darktrace picks London for $5bn IPO

Cambridge’s trailblazing cyber security company, Darktrace, has settled on a London IPO in the first half of 2021 that will value the business at a staggering $5 billion.

There had been market mutterings about a possible float on America’s Nasdaq technology exchange but this looks to have been ruled out.

Investors in Cambridge hi-tech and life science companies tell Business Weekly that they expect to see a surge in London IPOs for AI and DeepTech innovators this year. The pick of the bigger biotechs are felt to be leaning more towards Nasdaq.

Darktrace is the world’s leading cyber AI company and the creator of Autonomous Response technology.Its customer base now numbers over 4,500 organisations, including Micron, Rolls-Royce and NHS trusts, and its headcount has recently risen to 1,500 employees.

Poppy Gustafsson, at the UK and European end of the operation, will lead Darktrace onto the public market. She is now sole chief executive. Darktrace had previously deployed separate CEOs either side of the Pond. Gustafsson has inspired many other women to climb Darktrace’s management ladder. She was named Cambridge Judge Business School Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in the Business Weekly Awards in March 2019. 

Darktrace was our Business of the Year in 2017 and the following year became Cambridge’s 16th unicorn – a private company with a valuation topping $1 billion.

In a further uptick, Darktrace this week unveiled strong demand for its latest product release, Version 5 of its self-learning Darktrace Immune System, as customers tackle security challenges related to home working, and the new wave of sophisticated cyber-attacks. 

Requests to trial its award-winning Cyber AI technology in December 2020, when the security industry was rattled by the compromise of SolarWinds which made thousands of organisations vulnerable to infiltration, were up 40 per cent compared to December 2019.

Gustafsson said: “Recent attacks, including the malicious campaign related to SolarWinds, have laid bare the inadequacy of signature-based tools in protecting against stealthy intruders that lie low inside digital systems. Darktrace’s AI is designed to detect these types of novel threats and intervene immediately to stop their spread. 

“The demand for our latest release is testimony to Darktrace’s unique position in helping CISOs upgrade their security, as they seek to protect their entire digital infrastructure in the cloud, email, home office or network environments.”  

Hundreds of customers have already provided feedback on Darktrace Version 5, which encompasses upgrades to a range of Darktrace products including Antigena Email, Antigena SaaS, Client Sensors, Enterprise Immune System and Industrial Immune System. 

This is the first time Darktrace simultaneously upgraded its broad product portfolio, emphasising the company’s commitment to covering the entire digital estate of its customers.

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