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After raising $74 million, ZeroFox eyes IPO

ZeroFOX CEO James C. Foster.

ZeroFox CEO James C. Foster.

Baltimore cybersecurity firm ZeroFox announced the completion a $74 million funding round Thursday, and CEO James C. Foster said an initial public offering is likely in the company’s future.

With the funding raised, ZeroFox hopes to continue its global expansion, setting the stage for the point where it can begin the IPO process.

“We are preparing ourselves to be a long-term category winner,” Foster, also the company’s founder, said. “We’re not far off. But with partners like Intel, you’ll see some additional milestones that we need to hit.”

Foster could not say what the schedule would look like to reach an IPO, but said the company was close.

The $74 million round was led by Intel Capital and included investments from existing investors such as NEA, Highland Capital Partners, Redline Capital Management, Hercules Capital and Core Capital. The firm had previously raised more than $80 million across several rounds, including a $40 million round in 2017.

ZeroFox specializes in public attack surface protection, meaning it helps offer security across social, mobile, surface, deep and dark web, email and collaboration platforms, ZeroFox said. One of its services uses artificial intelligence to detect computer-manipulated videos known as deepfakes. 

As the firm has grown, it has used investments to grow geographically. It took investments from East Coast firms while it was growing there and West Coast firms when it grew there. 

Now the company hopes to use Intel’s investment to grow globally. ZeroFox already has customers in 50 countries and offices on four continents. It plans to hit 500 employees next year.

 “We want to make sure that as a company we are offering global services and support around the world,” Foster said. “I think this round allows us to continue our growth trajectory.”

ZeroFox had been building products with Intel for about nine months, and Foster said the investment solidifies that partnership. 

Intel also brings global capabilities that ZeroFox was looking for as it grew.

“ZeroFox has established itself as the global leader in the publicly accessible attack surface protection marketplace” Anthony Lin, Intel Capital’s vice president and senior managing director, said in a statement. “The company’s best-in-class (software as a service) platform, AI capabilities, and exceptional business profile are a testament to the unquestionable value it delivers to customers. We’re looking forward to collaborating with the company to accelerate its strategic expansion globally and its compelling technology road map.”

Even as it grows, ZeroFox plans to stay in Maryland, Foster said. He lives in Baltimore and said he enjoys the opportunity ZeroFox has to show off the city to people.

As Silicon Valley becomes more expensive, he believes Baltimore can be a good alternative for people and firms looking to relocate.

“I think Baltimore still gets a poor reputation from time to time. It’s somewhat disappointing, because I think the city has a lot to offer,” he said. “If we can continue to highlight to top tech talent in the country why they should move to Maryland, that makes me feel good.”

And if ZeroFox goes public and gets listed on an exchange, Foster has some plans that include a Baltimore flair.

“We’ll have Lamar ring the bell for us,” he said, referencing the Ravens’ MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson.

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