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Cofense, Formerly PhishMe, ‘Ready to Blow Things Out’ After Being Acquired

Phishing

**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting merger and acquisition news from January.**

A private-equity consortium is buying cybersecurity company PhishMe for $400 million and changing the name of the business to Cofense.

Cofense provides tools that help employees recognize malicious phishing emails. Its customers include Global 1000 organizations in defense, energy, financial services, health care and manufacturing. Its revenue has grown at a compound annual growth rate of about 80 percent during the last four years.

Cofense's Rohyt Belani

Cofense’s Rohyt Belani

Rohyt Belani, Cofense’s CEO and co-founder, tells Channel Partners the acquisition “further strengthens the alignment between our management team, employees and investors as we focus on building an enduring company.”

“With the help of multiple private-equity firms, we will continue to ensure our portfolio of enterprise-wide attack detection, response and orchestration solutions meets our customers’ evolving needs,” he said. “While today is the first day we’ve announced that we have changed our name to Cofense, we are excited to deepen our relationships with our technology and reseller partners, and look forward to some exciting new announcements coming down the pipeline.”

Scott Crawford, research director for information security at 451 Research, said it’s unusual that the acquiring private-equity firms were not named in the acquisition announcement.

“Pamplona Capital and BlackRock are not notable technology acquirers, at least not for early-stage startups that measure their sales in the tens of millions of dollars,” he said. “For perspective, BlackRock is the world’s largest investment manager, with some $6 trillion of assets under management. Still, private-equity firms are increasingly targeting the infosec market for acquisitions, attracted by the fact that security budgets have been the fastest-growing budgets of all the IT software markets in recent 451 Research surveys.”

The company’s new name reflects its pursuit of a strategy that “goes beyond phishing to integrate intelligence in exploits of human behavior with security operations,” Crawford said.

451 Research's Scott Crawford

451 Research’s Scott Crawford

“Once the sale to the buyout shops closes, we expect Cofense to contunue its pursuit of a strategy that has already led it to expand capabilities – reflected in the new brand – that help it compete in the highly fragmented security market,” he said.

The company has expanded partnerships through its Technology Alliance Program (TAP), adding 14 global security providers as partners to help customers maximize their return on investment.

In his blog, Aaron Higbee, Cofense’s co-founder and CTO, said with the new name and branding, “we’re ready to blow things out.” Phishing is a global problem, so Cofense is continuing to grow its global presence, he said.

“We have traction in Japan, the Middle East, and all over Europe, with multiplying channel relationships and integrations,” he said. “Today’s news will only speed the expansion of our footprint. If you’re a customer, or someone else’s customer, keep an eye on our road map. We have the focus and resources to develop products faster and better. Expect major updates across our solutions suite, for example, the upcoming release of next-level Cofense Triage.”


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