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Security Awareness Training: KnowBe4 Raises $300M, Becomes Unicorn

KnowBe4, the fast-growing provider of a security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, is set to receive a $300 million investment led by KKR, with participation from existing investors Elephant and TenEleven Ventures, the company confirmed this morning.

KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman
KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman

The new funding values KnowBe4 at $1 billion -- up from $800 million during a previous funding round only a few months ago.

KnowBe4 has a reseller partner program, but we're checking to see if the company plans a more focused approach to MSSP (managed security services provider) relationships.

Explaining the funding and the road ahead, KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman offered this prepared statement:

“We built KnowBe4 to serve an important market need and it’s very, very gratifying to have reached this milestone as evidence that we’re doing what we set out to do. Threats like phishing, ransomware and other forms of social engineering continue to plague organizations of all sizes, meaning the market for our security awareness training is growing at a rapid pace. The relationship we started with KKR earlier this year has been fruitful for both of us. This new round enables KnowBe4 to continue to focus on helping our clients build a human shield against cyber threats, while also accelerating KnowBe4’s roll out in new markets to help more companies around the globe.”

KnowBe4 Funding: Cybersecurity Awareness Training Growth, Competition

No doubt, KnowBe4 is in growth mode. Among the key financial and business metrics the company shared today:

  • Over $100 million of recurring revenue;
  • near triple-digit growth;
  • more than 25,000 customers across all verticals and regulated industries; and
  • strategic acquisitions such as Brazil-based El Pescador and Norway’s CLTRe.

Also of note: The company ranked No. 96 on the Inc. 5000 list for 2018.  KnowBe4 revenues were $64.5 million in 2017, representing a three-year growth rate of 3,726 percent, Inc. reports.

Still, profit figures have not been disclosed and the company faces a lengthy list of rivals — including these top providers of security awareness training tools. Demand for such tools grew about 40 percent to $490 million in 2018, Gartner estimates.

Numerous upstarts also are moving into the market. One example: CybeReady has raised $5 million in venture capital funding and expanded its autonomous cybersecurity training platform for enterprises into North American market, the company disclosed today.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.