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30 April, 2021 - 11:40 By Tony Quested

Darktrace valued at £1.7bn on UK IPO

Cambridge cyber security world leader Darktrace was valued at £1.7 billion on its London Stock Exchange bow this morning but an immediate surge in share price suggested there may be more in the tank.

The opening share price of 250p per share zoomed to 350p within an hour of flotation and Darktrace has the option to boost the initial offering raise of £165 million to £190m through an over-allotment option depending on demand from investors.

Originally the company had eyed a potential £3 billion valuation but cut its cloth after Deliveroo’s recent ill-fated UK bow, which was grossly overpriced.The early increase in Darktrace’s maiden share price put the business on course for an early market cap of £2.4bn.

A former Business of the Year with this medium, Darktrace also became Cambridge’s 16th unicorn in May 2018.

“Our company is deeply rooted in the UK’s tradition of scientific and mathematic research so we are especially proud to be listing on the London Stock Exchange,” Poppy Gustafsson, Darktrace’s chief executive said. “This milestone marks an exciting day for Darktrace.”

Founded in 2013 by mathematicians and cyber experts from government intelligence backgrounds, Darktrace was the first company to apply AI to the challenge of cyber security.

With its Immune System platform, Darktrace has fundamentally transformed the ability of organisations to defend their most critical assets in the face of rising cyber-threat.

Darktrace’s pioneering technology leverages unsupervised machine learning to detect cyber-threats that signature-based, legacy systems cannot. It quickly became clear that the technology was powerful enough to identify a diverse range of threats at their earliest stages – from insider attacks to state-sponsored espionage.

The technology works by learning a ‘pattern of life’ for every user and device in an organisation. Continuously evolving its understanding of ‘normal’, it detects the subtle anomalies indicative of a cyber-threat. This marks a radical departure from legacy tools reliant on static rules and blacklists of previously encountered threats, which are therefore blind to novel and sophisticated attacks. 

The Darktrace Immune System is now used by over 4,700 companies to protect every corner of their digital environment, from cloud and SaaS applications, to IoT devices and endpoints, as well as industrial control systems and the corporate network. 

The technology provides complete coverage across major SaaS applications and cloud services, including Microsoft 365, Zoom, Slack, Okta, and many more, and integrates seamlessly with a range of security tools, from firewalls to various SIEMs and SOARs. 

Darktrace is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with more than 1,500 employees globally. Employees now own around eight per cent of Darktrace, which co-founder Dr Mike Lynch said was “great to see.”

He told Business Weekly: “Today is an incredibly exciting day for Darktrace and the UK. A strategically important, independent UK cyber AI technology shows what we can do in Cambridge and how we can list it in London. 

“I think back to perhaps the other most exciting day in Darktrace’s history. A conference room, a handful of people, no company name, a small whiteboard and a big technology vision. 

“It’s been an honour to be part of that journey. The wonderful thing about Cambridge is that I can’t wait to see the next whiteboard!”

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