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Tampa cybersecurity firm ReliaQuest reaches unicorn status with new funding

Veronica Brezina

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Brian Murphy, founder and CEO of ReliaQuest. File photo.

Tampa-based cybersecurity firm ReliaQuest is now valued at over $1 billion – reaching unicorn status following a surge of growth this year. 

ReliaQuest announced today it has received a new funding round led by investor KKR, a global investment firm. The Ten Eleven Ventures, FTV Capital and founder Brian Murphy also participated in the investment. The monetary figure for the new round was not disclosed, but it valuates the company at over the $1 billion mark. 

“Many companies determine their success on their valuation … we measure our success based on making cybersecurity possible for customers and believe cybersecurity is the greatest technological challenge in our generation,” Murphy told the St. Pete Catalyst.

Founder and CEO of ReliaQuest Brian Murphy. Photo provided by inkhouse.

While Murphy and his team are heads-down, laser-focused on developing cybersecurity programs for customers, he recognizes how the unicorn status will draw even more recognition for the team. 

“My biggest driver for it [the unicorn status] is I want it for our teams, partners, community partners to be proud and recognize what they should be proud of and know this is possible,” he said.  

Murphy said the funding round closed the Tuesday of  Thanksgiving week. 

The new round follows a $300 million growth equity round in 2020, which was also led by KKR. The new investment will be used to accelerate the expansion of ReliaQuest’s business operations and the continued development of its GreyMatter product, which is made up of 52 patents that offer threat detection and has a response SaaS platform.  

Murphy said the fuel driving ReliaQuest’s growth is “the combination of the problem and how we solve it, and our ability to combine the GrayMatter platform with our security operations team to allow enterprise organizations to detect threats and respond across a broader scope.

“We spend a lot of time on who is that customer hiring us to solve their problem, it’s our singular focus and people want to be a part of that,” he added. “We’ve made a lot of investments around the culture of the company to tackle the greatest challenge of our generation. Every time we come up with a new SaaS platform, or a new cloud computing or approach to automation, we have to think about security while we innovate.” 

ReliaQuest works with hundreds of Fortune 1000 organizations that use ReliaQuest’s GreyMatter platform to operationalize security investments. Murphy said the GreyMatter platform has become more flexible this year and has been geared toward middle-market customers. 

ReliaQuest has achieved other milestones this year such as surpassing $100 million in annual recurring revenue, more than doubling the number of new customers year-over-years, adding key executives. 

Murphy, who is a Florida native, says he has always been committed to growing the company locally.

“I would always see companies leave here and never understand why. I think people get the sense that going somewhere else is going to be easier. The reality is entrepreneurship is very hard no matter where you are located. The change, though, has been places like Embarc Collective, investments like Water Street, Midtown, and our universities that are so eager to work with us – you’re starting to see that come together over the years,” Murphy said. “As a state and city, we started to collect these wins and started believing in ourselves, which is attractive. In growing a company here, we were going from being asked ‘why here’ to ‘you are really ahead of the curve, that was smart.'”


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ReliaQuest is planning to move roughly 400 local employees into its new 120,000-square-foot headquarters in the Water Street development early next year.   

ReliaQuest is currently based out of 777 S. Harbour Island Blvd. In Water Street, it will occupy the top six floors of the Thousand & One building and become the anchor tenant. 

“We are so happy to get back into one building and be near Amalie Arena and be across from the restaurants,” he said. 

Murphy said ReliaQuest is hiring 50 to 70 new employees per month. Murphy foresees an increase of the overall 700 employees to grow to 1,400-1,500 over the next 12 to 15 months, with approximately 30% to 40% based out of Tampa. 

Murphy explained the company needed to claim the six floors of the Water Street building with the growing headcount; however, he said, he expects the company will outgrow the space quickly, but still plans to remain in Water Street. 

ReliaQuest also is growing its Salt Lake City operations, which acts as the HQ for the Western U.S.  

It will also be expanding geographically in the European Union. 

Murphy said ReliaQuest will continue to concentrate on its goals, including innovating through intellectual property and truly becoming a global organization. 

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