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Cybereason snags $100m from Softbank to mount distribution, tech offensive

'This deal is the coming of age of the offensive security model'

Cybersecurity startup Cybereason is looking to go to the next level after securing $100m in funding from SoftBank.

Cybereason, with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts and Tel Aviv, Israel, offers a range of endpoint detection and response, next-generation antivirus, and managed monitoring services. These are crowded segments already staked out by the likes of Symantec, McAfee, Cylance, CrowdStrike and others. Some of these vendors are cash rich, but few can boast of the war chest now at Cybereason's disposal.

Lior Div, co-founder and chief exec of Cybereason, said: "This new funding allows us to increase our growth through new distribution channels and to develop new technologies. Our strengthened partnership with SoftBank, which has a formidable sales force and enterprise customer base in Japan, and a global reach, will also enable us to further expand our presence in the cybersecurity market."

Prior to cofounding Cybereason, Div led a team within Unit 8200, the signal intelligence unit of the Israel Defense Forces. The same elite cyber corps have been the breeding grounding for successful Israeli cyber security startups, including Check Point Software, Palo Alto Networks and numerous others.

SoftBank is Cybereason's biggest investor and one of its largest customers and distribution partners. Following this financing, Cybereason has raised a total of $189m in capital from SoftBank, CRV, Spark Capital, and Lockheed Martin since being founded in 2012. The new investment propels Cybereason into the ranks of the so-called unicorns – tech firms with valuations of $1bn or above.

Javvad Malik,‏ former senior security analyst at 451 Research, said the level of funding was by no means unusual for the infosec business. "We're seeing more companies get funding around the $100m mark – seems to be an increasingly favored exit for infosec firms," he told El Reg.

"We've seen [that] companies like CrowdStrike, Tanium, Netskope, and Illumio have raised funding rounds in the region of $100m – demonstrating these are looking for an exit door to Wall Street, as opposed to pursuing a sale of the business. No VC-backed security vendors have been sold where they've been valued at over $1bn," Malik‏ added.

Joe Haslam, a business professor at IE Business School in Madrid and former exec at anti-virus firm Panda Security, said Cybereason's plans to scale up its business pose a challenge for established players in the endpoint security market.

"This deal is the coming of age of the offensive security model. Unless the defensive guys can adapt, they will be wiped out," Haslam warned. ®


A January 2015 feature on the Israeli cybersecurity scene featuring an interview with Cybereason's Lior Div can be found here.

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