Darktrace reveals plans for £3bn float at end of April

Posted on April 12, 2021 by Jonathan Symcox

Poppy Gustafsson, Darktrace

Darktrace CEO Poppy Gustafsson

Cybersecurity giant Darktrace is expected to IPO at the end of the month after announcing its ‘intention to float’ to the London Stock Exchange. 

The company is expected to be valued at £2.5-3 billion after it filed registration documents this morning. 

Darktrace’s self-learning security technology defends more than 4,500 organisations worldwide by autonomously detecting, investigating and responding to threats from insiders, remote working, ransomware, data loss and supply chain vulnerabilities.  

It has not been a straightforward road to its planned launch on the main market of the LSE. UBS resigned as one of its main IPO sponsors, with reports claiming that this was due to the role of billionaire tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch, who is battling extradition to the US, in the company. 

Lynch became the first shareholder in Darktrace through his investment company Invoke Capital, which remains Darktrace’s biggest shareholder. However, Lynch no longer has any direct involvement with the running of the company and stepped down from the Darktrace board in 2018 

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Cambridge-headquartered Darktrace is also pressing ahead despite the disastrous IPO of food delivery disrupter Deliveroo. Darktrace has opted against issuing dual-class shares, unlike Deliveroo founder Will Shu, whose decision to give himself 20-times the voting rights of other shareholders was widely criticised. 

Darktrace, which has 1,500 employees and 44 office locations, recently appointed former BT CEO Sir Peter Bonfield CBE and Lord Willetts, the former science minister, to its board, as well as appointing  new chairman in Gordon Hurst, who also chairs Featurespace. 

It also dropped co-CEO Nicole Eagan, who is based in the US, to the position of head of strategy, with Poppy Gustafsson now its sole chief executive ahead of the planned float. 

Gustafssona former Autonomy colleague of founder Lynch and now an adviser to Boris Johnson, is expected to hold £20 million of shares following the IPO. 

From fiscal year 2018 to fiscal year 2020 the group’s revenue has grown from $79.4m to $199.1m. Adjusted EBITDA has improved from a $27m loss to a $9m profit over the same period. 

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“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,” said Gustafsson. 

Since our foundation in 2013, our mission has been to apply fundamental technology to one of the most critical challenges facing organisations in all sectors: cyber security. Every second, Autonomous Cyber AI responds to an attack without requiring human intervention – transforming the organisation’s ability to protect their most critical data and intellectual property.   

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 recognise the achievements of all Darktrace employees in challenging our industry with a new technological approach, serving our customers with game-changing 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.”

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