LONDON — There are rumours swirling that British cybersecurity firm is weighing up an IPO — but its European CEO insists there are no “immediate plans.”
While speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in London on Monday, Darktrace’s European CEO Poppy Gustafsson was asked whether the company planned to hold an IPO in 2017.
The answer: “No.”
“There’s no plan to be going public or anything of that sort on the immediate horizon,” Gustafsson said. Instead, the focus is on “trying to grow as quickly as we can.”
Note the “immediate” qualifier: Gustafsson is downplaying the possibility, but not ruling it out at some point after 2017.
The question came after City AM reported back in October that the company had told investors and entrepreneurs that its “ultimate ambition” is to have IPO.
Darktrace is one of the UK’s buzziest startups. Funded to the tune of $90 million, with a valuation of $500 million (figures confirmed by Eagan on Monday), the company uses machine learning technology to provide cybersecurity defences for its customers — monitoring typical “patterns of life” on networks and flagging up anomalous and potentially malicious activity.
Part of its hype comes via its origin story: It was founded in 2013 by a group of Cambridge mathematicians and British spies, brought together by British tech billionaire Mike Lynch.
The firm counts everyone from biomedical companies to chocolate factories among its clients — but despite its historic links to the British intelligence services, it doesn’t currently count them among its clients, Gustafsson said.
“No, we work with a wide range of private and public sector [clients] but we are in no way attached to government intelligence agencies,” the exec said.
She also confirmed the company’s list cofounders — something there has been some confusion about. They are Nicole Eagan, the global CEO, Jack Stockdale, the CTO, Nick Trim, the managing director for Europe, and Dave Palmer, the director of technology.