Cybersecurity training startup KnowBe4 passes $800m valuation with KKR, Ten Eleven Ventures backing


Cybersecurity awareness training and simulation platform KnowBe4 has hit a valuation of more than $800m thanks to an investment from buyout giant KKR and Ten Eleven Ventures.

The financial backing comes off the back of an “exceptional” 2018 for KnowBe4 according to the company, which said it reached $120m of bookings and revenue growth of 110 per cent.

KKR will take a significant minority stake in KnowBe4 through the deal.

The company specialises in fighting phising and pretexting attacks, which represent 98 per cent of social incidents and 93 per cent of breaches according to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach report.

KnowBe4 looks to help organisations reduce their risk of a cyber attack by educating users to recognise, report and avoid threats, through security awareness training and simulated phishing tests.

KKR director Stephen Shanley said, “We’ve seen global spending on cyber security solutions grow to $48bn, yet despite this investment, breaches, and the severity of these breaches, continue to be on the rise – over 90 per cent of which involve inadvertent human error. We believe employees represent an organization’s first and last line of defense.

“That is exactly why we are so excited to be investing in KnowBe4, the leading cyber security solution that goes beyond the infrastructure and prioritizes empowering employees to make smarter security decisions.”

KKR will be making its investment through its Next Generation Technology Fund, which focuses on investments in software, security, Internet, digital media, and information services.

KnowBe4 said it expects to use the funds to strengthen the company’s international expansion and add to its suite of security training modules.

Ten Eleven Ventures founder and general partner Mark Hatfield said, “Cyber security training that helps every employee do his or her part to defend against attacks, especially as related to preventing the sophisticated spear phishing attacks we’re currently seeing, is more critical than ever.

“For the multitude of companies grappling with how to educate their workforce on how to best identify and protect against persistent threats, KnowBe4 offers an effective solution that results in dramatic risk reduction and ROI.”

Last week KKR agreed to buy business and accounting software provider Exact Software from Apex Partners.

Exact’s cloud-based platform supports 6,700 accountants to manage the finances of more than 400,000 SMEs in the Benelux region.

The company’s software suite also includes features to address financial management, logistics, CRM, HR and payroll.

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