One of the fastest-growing technology companies in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area has hit a milestone.
KKR, a global investment firm, led a more than $300 million funding round for ReliaQuest, a cybersecurity company headquartered in Tampa. Ten Eleven Ventures and Brian Murphy, ReliaQuest founder and CEO, also participated in the investment round.
The new money will support ReliaQuest growth, including international expansion, platform development and new hires, a news release said.
It’s the second big investment for KKR and for Ten Eleven Ventures in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. Last year, they invested $300 million in KnowBe4, a cybersecurity training company in Clearwater.
The ReliaQuest investment comes 13 years after Murphy founded the company in 2007, in the middle of the financial crisis. He bootstrapped it before raising $30 million from FTV Capital in 2016.
In 2016, Reliaquest committed $1 million to fund the ReliaQuest Cybersecurity Labs at the USF Muma College of Business. A few weeks ago, ReliaQuest signed on as a corporate partner for the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee.
ReliaQuest’s software platform, GreyMatter, makes it easier for its clients to understand and act on potential cybersecurity threats. It automates what ReliaQuest has been doing in its own security center operations, Murphy told the St. Pete Catalyst last year.
ReliaQuest’s revenue has grown more than 450 percent of the past three years, Murphy wrote in a blog post Tuesday about the KKR investment. “Cybersecurity is only rising in importance and the pandemic exacerbated an already complex and challenging cyber threat landscape, further increasing demand for what we do,” Murphy said.
The company has hired more than 70 people since March and the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. It currently has 500 employees and expects to hire about 100 by the end of the year.
“We’ll use the money to make those hires and find the right kind of talent we need in key roles in the U.S. and other markets, in addition to our operations in Dublin and London,” Murphy wrote.
Reliaquest’s customers include Moffitt Cancer Center, Southwest Airlines, Auto Club Group and other prominent brands.
KKR also was a customer before it became an investor, Steven Shanley, a director at KKR, said in the news release.
KKR will be making the investment through its Next Generation Technology Growth Fund II, a fund dedicated to growth equity investment opportunities in the technology space.
“We have gotten to know the KKR team well over the last couple years through working with them closely as one of our customers. They recognize the value we provide to enterprise security teams and we realize how our business and technology approaches align,” Murphy wrote in his blog post. “As one of the world’s largest investment firms, KKR has global reach and a large network of portfolio companies, which makes them an ideal innovation and growth partner for us. They’ll give us the tools and guidance we need to grow while allowing us to stay uniquely ReliaQuest. They’re the right partner, at the right time, and with the right focus.”
Sidley Austin LLP represented KKR in the deal. Other advisors on the agreement included RBC Capital Markets, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Latham & Watkins LLP.