KKR backs cybersecurity firm NetSPI with US$410m funding

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KKR has agreed to provide cybersecurity firm NetSPI with an additional US$410 million in growth equity, according to a statement reviewed by Bloomberg.

The deal, slated to close by the end of the fourth quarter, is KKR's second investment in the company, bringing the private equity firm's total commitment to US$500 million. KKR led a US$90 million investment last year.

As part of the deal, existing investor Sunstone Partners will exit its position, according to NetSPI chief executive officer Aaron Shilts.

"We're now just focused on this next phase of growth that's gonna require investment, focus and we've got some exciting plans for the next three-four years," Shilts said in an interview. "We have really enjoyed the last 18 months of our relationship with KKR. I think we've had some really good, just strategic discussions on how to approach the market."

Founded in 2001, NetSPI is a provider of penetration-testing and attack-management services for clients including Microsoft and the US Air Force, according to its website. That means its products simulate cyber attacks, which helps businesses and organisations prepare for real threats.

Shilts said NetSPI is approaching US$100 million in revenue this year following good growth since a "breakout" 2020. The company has operations in the US, Canada, UK and India.

Cybersecurity remains a coveted sector for KKR's technology-growth team. It's a market that the private equity firm has been tracking "well before" investing in NetSPI, according to KKR director Ben Pederson.

"If you step back in terms of what we're looking for broadly in this time of uncertainty, it's companies that are going make it through the next five plus years regardless of what's happening in the short term here on the macro side," Pederson said. BLOOMBERG

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