BlackRock and Pamplona Capital Acquire PhishMe for $400 Million

PhishMe, a Leesburg, VA-based cybersecurity company, has been bought out by private equity giants BlackRock and Pamplona Capital Management as the industry doubles down on the high-flying sector.

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The deal, which values the company as $400 million, will result in Pamplona acquiring a two-thirds stake in the business, while BlackRock will take on the rest, according to Fortune. The company has also rebranded itself as “Cofense,” a play on the words “collaborative” and “defense.”

Seven-year-old PhishMe helps its business customers deal with spear-phishing email attacks, and has worked on expanding its business to offer other solutions in the recent years. Initially, doubling down on spear-phishing attacks, by which cyber criminals gain entry into an organization’s network via spoof emails, helped PhishMe gain a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded cybersecurity space. The startup was best known for a simple “report phishing” tab that appeared on workers’ Outlook email system, later developing phishing simulations that its larger enterprise clients use to train workers to spot potential breaches.

PhishMe says it has grown its annual revenue at an 80% rate over the last four years. Since its founding in 2011, the company has raised about $58 million in three rounds of funding from backers including Paladin Capital Group, Aldrich Capital Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners, according to Crunchbase. In its most recent round in July 2016, led by Paladin Capital Group, the cybersecurity startup raised $42.5 million.

“So, our brand is inline with our vision. Cool. But even better, we’ve got deeper financial backing to make the vision a reality. The strategic vision is growing while financial pressure is shrinking,” stated the firm’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Aaron Higbee in a blog post announcing the deal. Higbee suggests that customers should gain from major updates to come in the near future across the software provider’s product suite.