Darktrace hits $1.65 billion valuation after latest funding round

(Reuters) - Cyber-security firm Darktrace said on Wednesday it has raised $50 million in its latest funding round led by European private equity firm Vitruvian Partners LLP, valuing the company at $1.65 billion.

The series E funding round also included existing investors KKR & Co Inc and TenEleven Ventures. The company, founded in 2013, has raised a total of $229 million so far.

Chief Executive Officer Nicole Eagan told Reuters that the latest funds will be used to increase headcount. Darktrace employs 750 people at present and expects to end fiscal 2019 with 1,000 employees.

Eagan said the company does not plan to go public at the moment, nor is it looking forward to any deals.

Darktrace differentiates itself in using advanced machine learning and mathematics developed at the University of Cambridge to identify abnormalities in a company’s IT network that might be an attack.

The company also aims to tackle the latest phenomenon of artificial intelligence-based cyber attacks with its own AI-based software.

“We are starting to see early signs of very rudimentary machine learning being used in these (cyber) attacks ... we do estimate that in the next 18 months we will start seeing much sophisticated AI based attacks,” Eagan said.

Darktrace, co-headquartered in Britain’s Cambridge and San Francisco, has customers including chipmaker Micron Technology Inc, international airports like London Gatwick Airport, and financial institutions such as AIG Inc.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana and Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta