Immersive Labs raises $75m to plug skills gaps in cybersecurity

14 Jun 2021

James Hadley. Image: Immersive Labs

The start-up builds a cybersecurity training platform for companies and plans to expand its footprint in Asia Pacific.

Cybersecurity education start-up Immersive Labs has raised $75m in a Series C round to further grow its business internationally.

The round was led by Insight Partners with Menlo Ventures, Citi Ventures and Goldman Sachs Asset Management joining the investment.

Immersive Labs is a cybersecurity education platform that helps companies train up their staff on various skills in cybersecurity and tools for preventing and stemming the impact of cyberattacks. The NHS, Vodafone and HSBC are among its clients

The Bristol-based start-up said the funds will be used to further develop its Cyber Workforce Optimization platform.

Chief executive James Hadley said that more and more people in companies need to have some degree of cybersecurity skills rather than a “few technical people hidden away in a back office”.

“Everyone from the teams who build software, to the CEO, now need to play their part in addressing a pervasive company issue. This requires unlocking and evidencing skills in a much broader group of people,” Hadley, who is a former cybersecurity instructor at the UK government’s communications headquarters, said.

Companies may be spooked by the myriad cyberattacks of late, such as the ransomware attacks on the Colonial Pipeline, JBS and Ireland’s health service. One part of the strategy for preventing attacks like these from landing is ensuring all staff are cyber aware.

“The first step to achieving this lies in understanding where capabilities are lacking which, until now, has been impossible,” Hadley said. “This investment will allow us to add new analytical capabilities and content to provide a more detailed picture of skills across the growing breadth and depth of cyber exposure facing organisations, helping them measure and manage risk better.”

This, the company added, will also help address shortages in supply of cybersecurity talent.

In recent years, Immersive Labs has been pushing deeper into the US market with a base in Boston and it plans to use this new funding to establish operations in new regions in Europe and Asia Pacific. It plans to triple its workforce to 600.

“With significant global customer and revenue growth over the last few years, Immersive Labs has established a strong position in the fast-developing cyber skills space,” Ryan Hinkle, managing director at Insight Partners who is joining the start-up’s board, said.

“With influential leadership, an innovative product in a growing market and strong user engagement, the company is in a position to continue to lead the cyber-readiness market.”

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin