Cambridge-based computer security firm Darktrace has enjoyed a highly successfully initial public offering (IPO) on the London stock exchange.

Darktrace was founded in 2013 by mathematics professors and former members of the UK security services, has previously said that its upcoming IPO would raise funds to help it drive product development, as it focuses on growth.

The company uses artificial intelligence to spot attacks by detecting unusual behaviour. The company was amongst the first to apply AI techniques to cyber-security.

Successful listing

For the listing, Darktrace had priced 66 million shares (or 9.6 percent of issued share capital) at a conservative 250p, valuing the cybersecurity firm at £1.7 billion ($2.4 billion).

When its shares debuted on Friday morning, Darktrace shares climbed to more than 358p, up 43 percent from its IPO price.

Darktrace had hoped to raise a total of £165.1 million, and of that £143.4 million will go to the company, while £21.7 million will go to existing shareholders.

The company has said a further 9.9 million shares will be sold if demand proves higher than expected.

Its shares are trading under the ticker “DARK”.

Shares are still trading at 343 pence as of 10.15am BST Friday 30 April.

The successful IPO is the first major tech listing to be announced since Deliveroo’s disastrous IPO earlier in April, which saw its shares fall 30 percent on their first day of trading.

Notable investor

Darktrace was an early investment by Mike Lynch’s Invoke Trust, following the sale of Autonomy to HP in 2011, and Invoke remains Darktrace’s largest shareholder.

Lynch faces fraud charges in the United States over the Autonomy sale and resigned from Darktrace’s board in 2018 after the US filed Autonomy-related charges.

Chief executive Poppy Gustafsson said Lynch is not involved with the day-to-day running of the business and his legal proceedings would have no impact on performance.

Darktrace’s annual revenue grew from $79.4m (£57.7m) in 2018 to $199.1m in 2020, but it remains loss-making as Gustaffson said the company remains focused on growth.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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