Endpoint security firm Cylance announced Tuesday afternoon that it has closed a $120 million funding round led by funds managed by Blackstone Tactical Opportunities and including other investors.
The announcement was made hours after endpoint security rival CrowdStrike announced that it had raised more than $200 million in a Series E round of funding at a $3 billion valuation. Given the timing of the announcement—just after 1PM ET—it is likely that Cylance had been preparing to announce its funding in the near future, but scrambled to get the news out as soon as possible to follow CrowdStrike. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the timing of the announcement.
Cylance’s flagship endpoint security product, CylancePROTECT, takes a mathematical and machine learning approach to identifying and containing zero day and advanced attacks. The company has been utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning as part of its core marketing message since the company was founded in 2012.
The company claims that it has prevented over 23 million attacks worldwide, including more than four million previously unidentified attacks.
According to Cylance, the additional cash will be used to support sales, marketing and development efforts to increase market share, and further expand its footprint across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, and expand product offerings.
“With annual revenues over $130 million for fiscal year 2018, over 90% year-over-year growth, and more than 4,000 customers, including over 20% of the Fortune 500, we have demonstrated market success, scale and traction,” said Brian Robins, Chief Financial Officer at Cylance. “We are honored to have Blackstone Tactical Opportunities expand its commitment to Cylance by leading this round of financing. The investment supports our growth strategy and will enable us to continue on the path to becoming cash flow positive.”
In April 2017, Ars Technica published an article detailing a test that used 48 Cylance-provided malware samples, which showed 100% detection by Cylance, but somewhat less from competing products, leading some to some suggestions that Cylance had been gaming the system. In response, Chad Skipper, Cylance’s vice president of product testing and industry relations, explained that Cylance doesn’t simply use known malware for tests, but alters them via the mpress and vmprotect packers so they effectively become unknown malware. Cylance also claimed at the time, that the majority of independent third-party tests are biased in favor of the incumbent vendors that use malware signature databases (as well as other techniques, including their own use of machine learning).
Cylance is not alone in disputes over competitive testing methods. CrowdStrike sued testing firm NSS Labs in 2017 to seek a temporary restraining order to prevent publication of CrowdStrike comparative test results. CrowdStrike explained that it filed suit to hold NSS accountable for unlawfully accessing its software, breaching its contract, pirating its software, and improper security testing.