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Business Observer Sunday, Mar. 3, 2019 3 months ago

Area cybersecurity firm, after investment, valued at $800M

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KnowBe4 is off to a stellar start in 2019.

If the rest of 2019 goes as well for KnowBe4 as the first two months, the Clearwater-based security awareness training and simulated phishing platform company is primed for a banner year.

Earlier in the year the company announced it did $120 million in sales in 2018 — nearly double the $62 million from 2017. Then, in late February, it closed on an acquisition that provides an entry into South America, buying Brazil-based El Pescador. That firm, with a name that translates to fisherman in Spanish, will add to both KnowBe4’s client base and its education and awareness software library. KnowBe4 also has offices in England, the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa and Singapore.

Even bigger news came March 1, when KnowBe4 announced it was getting a “sizable minority investment” from global private equity icon KKR, which has some $150 billion in assets under management. The investment includes funds from TenEleven Ventures, which specializes in cybersecurity firms worldwide.  

The total KKR-TenEleven Ventures stake, while undisclosed, values KnowBe4 at more than $800 million, company officials say in a statement.

“KKR is an important strategic partner for KnowBe4 as we continue to grow worldwide and bring new-school security awareness training to new markets,” KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman says in the statement. “We have had 23 straight quarters of explosive growth and there is no slowing down.”

More than 23,000 organizations across a variety of industries, including health care, energy, government and insurance, use KnowBe4’s simulated phishing tests, the company says. KKR, meanwhile, will make its investment through its Next Generation Fund, which has also financially backed ride-sharing firm Lyft and Epic Games, maker of video game sensation Fortnite.   

“We’ve seen global spending on cybersecurity solutions grow to $48 billion, yet despite this investment, breaches, and the severity of these breaches, continue to be on the rise — over 90% of which involve inadvertent human error,” Stephen Shanley, a KKR director, says in the statement. “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.”

 

 

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