Cybersecurity startup PhishMe raises $42.5 million Series C

PhishMe aims to help companies thwart phishing attacks and other threats to business networks through consistent employee training.

Cybersecurity training provider PhishMe says it has raised $42.5 million in Series C funding led by Paladin Capital Group. Bessemer Venture Partners, a $4 billion venture capital firm, also participated.

Founded in 2011, PhishMe aims to help companies thwart phishing attacks and other threats to business networks through consistent employee training, including spear phishing tests and other phishing simulations.

The Virginia-based start-up plans to use the latest cash injection to expand its portfolio, fund research and development efforts, and expand into international markets across Europe and Asia. PhishMe previously raised $13 million in a Series B round of funding last year. PhishMe's original funding round raised $2.5 million.

Alex Ferrara, a partner at Bessemer Venture Capital. said PhishMe stands out among other security vendors because it tries to influence the human element in detecting phishing campaigns.

Humans tend to be the weak links in the security chain, often falling for phishing campaigns or unwittingly connecting malware-ridden personal devices to corporate networks. PhishMe's pitch is that businesses can mitigate these risks by better training its staff.

"The most damaging cyber-attacks almost always involve phishing or spear phishing attempts and that is why empowering the human element or employees to detect these phishing campaigns has become a top priority for modern enterprises," Ferrara said.

Overall, security start-ups have enjoyed unfettered access to venture funding, unlike many of their cloud and software vendor peers. Security firms are also hot targets for acquisition, with everyone from Cisco to IBM snapping up start-ups with a bent on cybersecurity. Cisco recently bought Massachusetts-based CloudLock for $293 million, while IBM acquired Resilient Systems in February to beef up its security operations.

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