Cybersecurity firm and unicorn Darktrace set for £3bn London IPO


British ‘unicorn’ business and cybersecurity giant, Darktrace, has this week revealed plans to float on the London Stock Exchange.

Darktrace plc – together with its subsidiaries and subsidiary undertakings – is a world-leading provider of artificial intelligence (AI) for the enterprise, with the first
at-scale in-the-enterprise deployment of AI in cyber security.

The company aims to raise more than £3bn through an initial public offering (IPO) on the Main Market of the LSE.

Darktrace was founded in 2013 with a mission to fundamentally transform the ability of organisations to defend their most critical assets in the face of rising cyber threats.

Created by cyber experts and mathematicians, the group’s platform uses machine
learning and AI algorithms to detect and respond to cyber threats across diverse digital estates, including the cloud and virtualised networks, Internet of Things (IoT) and industrial control systems.

The majority of senior management has been with Darktrace since inception, including its Chief Executive Officer, Poppy Gustafsson OBE

From fiscal year 2018 to fiscal year 2020 the Group’s revenue has grown from $79.4m to $199.1m at a compound annual growth rate of 58.3%.

Gustafsson 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.

“Since our foundation in 2013, our mission has been to apply fundamental technology to one of the most critical challenges facing organizations in all sectors: cyber security. Developed by our talented software engineering teams in Cambridge, our artificial intelligence was the first on the market to be deployed atscale in the enterprise, and today is responsible for protecting over 4,700 organizations worldwide from the most sophisticated cyber-threats.

“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. We are proud to be part of that tradition of British innovation, as the UK becomes a leading global centre for the development of AI.

As we look forward to the next chapter, I want to recognize the achievements of all Darktrace employees in challenging our industry with a new technological approach, serving our customers with gamechanging solutions, and growing our business to become a global leader. Our proven track record puts us in a strong position to build on our momentum, continue to innovate, and expand our customer base internationally.”

Industry reaction

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, comments: “The cyber-security firm with an ominous name is another potential candidate hoping for a bright future as a publically listed company. Darktrace has developed an artificial intelligence approach to stopping cybercrime, and offers software and systems to protect businesses and their customers from attack. The marketing is certainly very slick, and the products are likely to have been in high demand as around businesses around the world were forced to move to home working. The group is rumoured to be targeting a valuation of £3.8bn.

“Of course taking part in an IPO and investing in individual companies might not be right for everyone. It is a higher risk as your investment is dependent on the future of that company and if it fails you risk losing your money. It’s important that investors understand the companies they are investing in, go through prospectuses with a fine toothcomb and make sure any businesses they own are held as part of a diversified portfolio.”