Goldman Sachs leads $8 million Series A funding in Immersive Labs cyber security skills platform
As we reported this morning, Wall Street financial giant, Goldman Sachs, has led $8 million (£6.2 million) in Series A funding investment in Immersive Labs, a Bristol, UK-based cybersecurity startup founded by an ex-GCHQ researcher. Immersive Labs builds cyber war games for technology and security professionals, to test the cyber skills of its staff. Other clients include BAE Systems, Sophos and Grant Thornton. The capital will be used to help more companies continue to upskill their cyber talent in a way which keeps pace with the threat landscape.
According to the press release, Immersive Labs said the investment also included participation from smaller private investors. The funding will go towards hiring more staff and expand it infrastructure to develop the platform further, supporting its continued growth and rapid go-to-market strategy. The funding will also be used to provide information technology and cybersecurity teams with advanced skills by combining threat data with gamified learning. The funding will be used to add employees, expand infrastructure to develop the platform more, fund growth and develop its go-to-market strategy.
Founded in 2017 by James Hadley, a former researcher at HM Government Communications Headquarters, who came up with the idea after running a cyber security summer school for GCHQ which taught 18 to 25-year-olds technical skills, Immersive Labs designs and develops a cloud-based cyber assessment platform to measure and improve technical cyber skills of the company. Immersive Labs designs and develops a cloud-based cyber assessment platform to measure and improve technical cyber skills of the company. It offers access to user profiles, cyber skill dashboards, and gamified leaderboards to identify skill gaps and therefore potential security risks; track people development; and recognize internal talent at performance reviews. Its current clients and customers include global corporations with complex cyber security needs, such as BAE Systems, Sophos and Grant Thornton.
“Large organizations are facing a dual cyber security talent problem: not only is the number of professionals seriously lagging, but so is the pace at which their skills are developed. If you are able to recruit the right people in the first place, today’s attackers move so fast your team may quickly fall behind,” said James Hadley, CEO of Immersive Labs, in the press release. “Our goal is to reduce this gap. With increased capital, we can help more companies continue to upskill their cyber talent in a way which keeps pace with the threat landscape.”
Immersive Labs also provides monthly and annual plans, including aware; technical (includes aware); and professional and cyber warrior (includes aware and technical) which offers courses, such as cyber awareness; GDPR compliance; open source intelligence and investigation; compliance and certification; security engineering; encoding/encryption; basic windows operating system; and OWASP top ten for PHP. It develops skills, including ethical web hacking; ethical infrastructure hacking; reverse engineering; IoT/firmware security; and advanced cyber warrior CTF Challenges for government, defense, and law enforcement agencies.
Immersive Labs platform relies on real-time feeds of the latest attack techniques, hacker psychology and technological vulnerability to build cyber wargames for IT and security teams to play and learn from. Immersive Labs claims its platform can help people gain skills within hours of the threat emerging and can be used to identify and fix weaknesses in the talent pool that may be less immediate.
Commenting on the investment, Andy Ozment, Chief Information Security Officer at Goldman Sachs, says: “Having rolled out the Immersive Lab platform globally ourselves, we are aware of the benefits it brings to large organisations. Continuous training programs are critical to meeting evolving cyber security threats. The Immersive platform has helped us hone the skills of the people at the front line of our cyber defenses and identify new talent throughout the organisation.”
Robert Hannigan, Former Director of GCHQ, says: “It is great to see a company with the reputation of Goldman Sachs getting firmly behind one of the fastest-growing UK cyber security success stories. Not only does it speak volumes of everything the team at Immersive Labs has achieved to date, but also of the massive growth potential the company has.”