DarkTrace rival Immersive Labs raises £52.99M to fuel global expansion, enhance cyber risk mitigation and more

Immersive Labs cover Image credits: Immersive Labs

Considering some recent events, cybersecurity was again a hot topic in the news. With cyber attacks being a common threat, Companies should be keen to invest in services that can help mitigate risks and/or train their employees for managing cyber threats effectively. This is where companies like Immersive Labs come in. The Bristol-based cybersecurity startup and DarkTrace rival has raised  £52.99 million in its series C funding to offer better services to its clients and expand globally. 

Big names back Immersive Labs

The funding round for Immersive Labs was led by Insight Partners, alongside Menlo Ventures,Citi Ventures and existing investor Goldman Sachs Asset Management. The company’s CEO James Hadley tells UKTN how they intend to utilise the fresh raise. 

“The capital will be used primarily for two things. First, to build the next generation of our platform which enables capture and analysis of richer data on skills capabilities. Second, we will be investing in greater global expansion, increasing headcount in go-to-market teams in existing regions, as well as expanding into new territories such as APAC,” Hadley reveals. 

Immersive Labs aims to expand its operations globally and it is eyeing new operations throughout APAC and Europe. The company currently employs 200 people but now, it claims to increase its headcount to over 600 people, over a span of two years. It will also work on its new Cyber Workforce Optimization platform, which is touted to use data insights for figuring out where skills are required and inject role specific training. The platform is also said to enable board-level metrics and benchmarking. 

Improving human cyber capabilities

Immersive Labs’ agenda is to help organisations measure and improve cybersecurity skills across technical and non-technical teams. Its platform is said to help develop cyber skills for both technical and non technical teams. Hadley notes that this is non-negotiable if a company wants to be prepared to mitigate attacks. 

The company enables this via its platform, which collects data to understand where cyber skill gaps lie. “It does this by running people through a series of exercises, simulations and games, and delivering targeted remote training based on the insights produced,”  Hadley adds. 

Bristol-based Immersive Labs was founded in 2017. With joint HQs in Bristol and Boston, the company has raised over £87.15 million in venture funding and has reported over 100% year-on-year growth. 

A common misconception

An outsider, or even someone running a company even, might ask what’s the most common cyber security gaps found in organisations. Hadley says this is one of the biggest misconceptions that people think there’s a ‘common’ type of skill missing. He says, “There is such a disparate definition of skills depending on role. For Executive teams, it might be decision-making in ransomware attacks but for developers, the challenge might be how to secure the build environment to avoid another Solarwinds style attack.”

Additionally, cyber security teams in a company need to be always on their toes to understand the latest threat actors, intentions of the latest nation state group or reverse engineer malwares. 

Future cybersec training – Big data and breadth?

In the future, we are most likely to witness more organisations being targeted by hackers and nation state groups for their profit. Hadley believes there are two things that will play a major role in ensuring a more robust future wherein one can be ready to face such threats. 

“First, data that helps security teams measure, benchmark, optimise and report on skills initiatives. Only by making skills tangible, can they be used more effectively by large organisations. Second is breadth. Ensuring that cyber skills are allowed to disseminate across the entire workforce, and are not just the preserve of a few technical people in a backroom. Cyber risk is spreading laterally across companies, so skills need to match,” Hadley concludes.