KKR-backed cybersecurity start-up KnowBe4 readies IPO

By Anirban Sen and Joshua Franklin

(Reuters) - Cybersecurity startup KnowBe4 Inc, which helps train employees to detect phishing emails, is preparing for a U.S. initial public offering (IPO), people familiar with the matter said.

KnowBe4, which last year raised $300 million in a private fundraising round led by buyout firm KKR & Co, has engaged investment banks to help with preparations for the IPO, which could come later this year or early in 2021, the sources said.

The IPO could value KnowBe4 at over $2 billion, one of the sources said.

The sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential and cautioned that the listing plans are subject to market conditions. KnowBe4 and KKR declined to comment.

, Florida-based KnowBe4, which was founded in 2010 by entrepreneur Stu Sjouwerman, educates employees at various companies on how to detect fraudulent emails and other potential online scams.

Demand for its services has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies spend more to protect the information technology systems of employees working from home.

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Worldwide spending on information security and risk management technology and services is expected to reach $124 billion in 2020, according to technology research firm Gartner.

KnowBe4's plans to go public come at a time of frenetic activity in U.S. capital markets, with public debuts of high-profile, venture-backed tech startups such as Airbnb, Palantir Technologies, Asana and DoorDash lined up before the end of 2020.

During the last full week of August, nearly two dozen companies filed registration statements to go public - the highest levels in recent history.

Companies that have gone public in the United States have so far raised more than $70 billion this year, already the second-biggest yearly haul since 2000.

(Reporting by Anirban Sen in Bengaluru and Joshua Franklin in New York; Additional reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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