Immersive Labs, a platform which teaches cybersecurity skills to corporate employees by using real, up-to-date threat intelligence in a “gamified” way, has closed a $75 million Series C funding round led by new investors Insight Partners alongside Menlo Ventures, Citi Ventures and existing investor Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
The investment will be used to scale Immersive’s offering in the U.S. and take advantage of the new wave of interest in cyberthreats caused by so many people working remotely, post-pandemic. Founded in 2017, Immersive Labs now has 200 people, with joint operations HQs in Bristol, U.K., and Boston, U.S. It plans to raise headcount to over 600 in the next two years and establish operations in new regions throughout APAC and Europe. Immersive’s “Cyber Workforce Optimization” platform claims to offer board-level metrics and benchmarking to gauge how the skills inside organizations are coping.
Immersive has now raised a total of $123 million in venture funding and counts HSBC, Vodafone and the NHS as customers. The company says it is growing at “over 100% year-on-year”.
James Hadley, CEO and founder of Immersive Labs, said: “With cyber risk becoming a problem for a growing number of business functions, cybersecurity knowledge and skills should no longer be the preserve of a few technical people hidden away in a back office. Everyone from the teams who build software, to the CEO, now need to play their part in addressing a pervasive company issue. This requires unlocking and evidencing skills in a much broader group of people.”
Ryan Hinkle, managing director at Insight Partners, said: “With significant global customer and revenue growth over the last few years, Immersive Labs has established a strong position in the fast-developing cyber skills space. With influential leadership, an innovative product in a growing market, and strong user engagement, the company is in a position to continue to lead the cyber readiness market.”
Speaking to me over an interview, Hadley added: “We chose Insight Partners because they’ve got a real strength in enterprise B2B which is where we sell to CIOs and CEOs… We want to be the next Darktrace in terms of a successful U.K. cybersecurity company.”
The comparison might not be that fanciful. Immersive Labs came out of the CYLON cyber accelerator, similar to Darktrace, has the same investors as Darktrace, but has in fact attracted $75 million for its Series C, whereas Darktrace didn’t manage that level until Series D. Darktrace has now IPO’d in London for £1.7 billion.
Hadley, a former GCHQ security researcher and trainer, came up with the idea for the cyber skills platform while leading cyber training himself. I asked him why he thinks Immersive has managed to come up with a “flywheel effect” with its platform.
“People always talk about all the cyberthreats getting worse, but it really is now and it’s in the public domain. We’ve got a strong belief that cybersecurity is no longer the responsibility of the geeks in the basement. Actually, it’s business-wide. And now the tidal wave is coming. Cybercrime is going to go off the scale this year and next because companies are paying the ransoms. And as a result of that, we’re putting in analytics to measure decision-making in a crisis. It’s just resonating really well with every company regardless of CIO or vertical,” he told me.
Immersive Labs is also a major backer of the charity TechVets, which trains UK military veterans in new careers in Cyber for free.