AI infosec biz Darktrace boasts near-doubled revenues as firm alumni battle HPE in civil case

Besieged Autonomy CEO, CFO both had fingers in the startup

Darktrace, the security startup backed in part by Mike Lynch, the exec currently involved in a big civil fraud case being heard at the UK's High Court, has nearly doubled turnover and reported deeper losses.

The firm, started by Cambridge Uni maths boffins and folk with infosec experience gained at intelligence agencies, said in its latest results (PDF) that revenue was up 93 per cent to £59.48m in the year to 30 June 2018.

Darktrace flogs what it describes as "Enterprise Immune Systems", which use machine learning to identify and respond to threats and incidents across cloud, IoT, virtualized networks and industrial control systems.

"The technology is self-learning and requires no set-up, identifying threats in real time, including zero-days, insider and stealthy, silent attackers," the blurb stated in its P&L accounts filed at Companies House.

Marketing and distribution costs, admin expenses, R&D and tax left Darktrace nursing a net loss of £39.33m, compared to £24.87m in the prior year.

In fiscal '18, Darktrace sucked up $50.4m (£38.5m) in a Series E led by European private equity house Vitruvian Partners, taking total funding to $230.5m (c £175m) since it was incorporated in 2013. The company has a valuation of circa $1.65bn.

The business was co-founded by Nicole Eagan and Poppy Gustafsson, both former long-serving employees at Autonomy, which was itself founded by Lynch, who sold it to HP for $11bn in 2011.

The following year, Autonomy was written down by $8bn and HP management accused Lynch and his former CFO Sushovan Hussain of cooking the books to inflate the value of the software firm. HPE – as HP is now called – is currently seeking $5bn in compensation from the pair.

Board member Lynch and director Hussain both resigned from Darktrace – Lynch in October ahead of the trial and Hussain in 2016. You can find The Register's comprehensive coverage of the London Autonomy trial here. ®

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