Investment

Cyber family office fundraisings in the coronavirus era

Family offices who have invested in cyber investment opportunities include YF Capital, owned by Jack Ma and David Yu, founders of Ali Baba; Frog Capital, backed by the Engelhorn family, and the family offices of Australian tech billionaires Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes. 

But others stepped up to the plate in fundraisings during the coronavirus crisis tracked by Family Capital.

UK-based Mike Lynch’s investment company Invoke Capital is backer to one of the UK’s hottest cybersecurity properties, Featurespace. In May, it raised $37 million from Merian Chrysalis, a fund which invests in unlisted opportunities

SPDG, a holding company for the Périer-D’Ieteren family, has led a $4 million fundraising for Regulus Cyber of Israel, which sets out to provide security to satellite GPS tracking devices – a current preoccupation for the US government. And Claridge Israel – a joint venture between Claridge, the family office of Stephen Bronfman, and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, a Canadian pension fund, has just invested in  Israeli-based Cyberbit.  

To capitalise on cyber concerns among the wealthy, DataTribe has just invested $1.9 million in BlackCloak, which uses data and cybersecurity tools to protect the wealthy. BlackCloak is led by Chris Pierson, former chief privacy officer at banking group RBS.

Vereign of Switzerland has raised $2.5 million from investors including family offices for the AquilaDirekt platform. It seeks to protect data and identities online for family offices, and others.

UK-based Mike Lynch’s investment company Invoke Capital is backer to one of the UK’s hottest cybersecurity properties, Featurespace. In May, it raised $37 million from Merian Chrysalis, a fund which invests in unlisted opportunities. 

Featurespace uses AI to study events in real-time to uncover anomalies which suggest where frauds are taking place. 

Its system came out of data research carried out at Cambridge University by Bill Fitzgerald. His research led to Mike Lynch’s first data venture, Autonomy, whose purchaser Hewlett Packard is taking legal action against Lynch over the deal relating to the price it paid. 

As well as Featurespace, Invoke is seed investor to Darktrace, also inspired by Fitzgerald, which raised $1.8 billion in 2018 and recently appointed former UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd to the board. 

Featurespace, led by Martina King (ex-Yahoo) has a raft of quality clients such as HSBC and World Pay. As well as Invoke, its backers include Robert Sansom, founder of Cambridge Angels and co-founder of Fore Systems, sold to Marconi in 1999, Gene Lockhart of MissionOG former CEO at MasterCard International, as well as US fintech venture capitalists. 

Other fund raisings include Run Safe Security which immunises software from cyber attacks. It managed to raise $3.5 million in early March, from Lockheed Martin Ventures and NextGen Venture Partners, a collection of part-time sophisticated investors. The deal follows a $6.3 million raising from investors such as cyber specialist Justin Label of Inner Loop Capital, once at Bessemer Venture Partners.

Envelop Risk has raised $6 million for a data process which seeks to eliminate risks in insurance underwriting.  It has been backed by AIC, an investment business run by Antoine Blondeau, a leader in AI investment. Brian O’Hara, former chief executive of insurance giant XL Capital, has joined the board.

The $92 billion Israeli cybersecurity market often hosts fundraisings and it has continued to do so amid the coronavirus crisis. In April, a cloud security engineer Bridgecrew raised $14 million. Several heads of security, including David Hannigan of Spotify, were involved, illustrating the value in specialist knowledge.

 Ermetic of Israel has raised $10 million from investors impressed by the way its founders built companies bought by Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks and Temasek.  Eyal Moshe’s Hub Security, a supplier of military-grade cybersecurity solutions has raised $5 million from investors led by Axa Ventures.

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