Cyber security firm reaches new markets with $26 million funding

Digital risk management firm Digital Shadows builds on Innovate UK funding to expand into new cyber security markets.

A report by Accenture, a leading IT services and consulting company, found that in 2017 the average number of cyber security breaches rose by 27.4%. This cost organisations an average of $11.7 million per year.

One of the biggest challenges to cyber security is that the perpetrators are often well-funded, smart, creative and able to act quickly. Unfortunately larger companies are often not able to react fast enough on their own.

Digital risk management firm Digital Shadows is working with organisations to manage the growing threat of cyber attacks.

About the project

Digital Shadows was founded in 2011 by Alistair Paterson and James Chappell to help banks improve their cyber security. Paterson and Chappell received two grants from Innovate UK totalling £346,000 to prove their concept and take their platform from prototyping to testing.

Digital Shadows uses machine learning to analyse data and organise the threats by potential risk. This enables organisations to continuously monitor their ‘digital shadow’ for information that could be useful to a cyber attacker.

Digital Shadow’s service, SearchLight, monitors content across the web including:

  • the open web – everything online that can be accessed by search engines
  • the deep web – pages hidden to search engines by secondary search boxes
  • the dark web – online content intentionally hidden from web browsers.

The software searches for information that could harm a company’s reputation, compromise its security or affect its customers. This can include websites posing as a company’s official website to harvest customers’ data, leaked or stolen customer information, and information or opinion that could damage a company’s reputation.

Impacts of the project

Helped by its latest series of funding, Digital Shadows has expanded into new markets such as Asia. The funding round was led by Octopus Ventures, which previously backed start-ups LOVEFilm and Zoopla. The $26 million (£19 million) is used to further develop the SearchLight platform, and expand globally.

Following Innovate UK’s investment, Digital Shadows raised $10 million in strategic funding led by the ventures arm of one of their customers, National Australia Bank. The investment enabled the team to expand their Asia Pacific team and open an office in Singapore, to provide global coverage of security threats.

Building on the success of this project, Digital Shadows secured Innovate UK Smart grant funding in November 2020 to develop SearchLight 2.0, a next generation domain monitoring platform to protect remote workers from phishing attacks.

Digital Shadows announced 54% growth in sales from 2020 to 2021. The company has added over 100 new customers for their existing SearchLight product.

Top image:  Digital Shadows' London office.

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