Cyber resilience company Immersive Labs announces $75 million Series C round

The company is already working with Vodafone, HSBC and the NHS.

Cybersecurity readiness firm Immersive Labs has announced a $75 million Series C round, with investments from Citi Ventures, Menlo Ventures and follow-on from Goldman Sachs Asset Management. 

The company helps organizations analyze their cybersecurity "across technical and non-technical teams" while also providing tools to help improve cyber training. Immersive Labs is now marketing a new "Cyber Workforce Optimization" platform that will strive to provide a slate of services related to identifying cybersecurity gaps in an enterprise. 

"From crisis management with executives, to secure software development amongst engineers and ensuring compliance in legal teams, the platform will use data insights to understand where skills are required and inject role specific training," the company said of their services in a statement. "It will also enable board-level metrics and benchmarking." 

The company has already received $48 million in venture funding and the platform is being used at companies like Vodafone and HSBC as well as organizations like the NHS in the UK.

"While technology has traditionally been used to plug this gap, it is incapable of making nuanced decisions, thinking laterally, instilling culture, showing leadership or taking into account numerous other crucial factors," James Hadley, CEO of Immersive Labs, told ZDNet. 

"We believe human intelligence deserves to reclaim its place alongside Artificial Intelligence in cybersecurity to help organizations build resilience and reduce risk."

Hadley said cybersecurity knowledge and skills should no longer be the "preserve of a few technical people hidden away in a back office." 

He added that the new funding will allow the company to add "new analytical capabilities and content to provide a more detailed picture of skills across the growing breadth and depth of cyber exposure facing organizations, helping them measure and manage risk better." 

Cyber knowledge, skills and capabilities, he said, are growing in demand across entire organizations and not only do security teams need continual upskilling, but developers need to know how to write secure code and teams need to hire the right talent. 

"This creates a need for skills in both technical and non-technical teams in a way that keeps pace with the attackers. To do this, first you need to understand where these gaps lie. Our platform is capable of collecting this information using our own online learning environments, where people are dropped into cybersecurity scenarios and exercises that cover all topics and roles, from a CEO wargaming a ransomware attack with their whole team to a front-line analyst individually reverse engineering malware," Hadley explained. 

"By collecting information on who has been upskilled against which threats specific to their role and when, and cross-referencing this with metadata, we can provide an organization-wide view of skills capabilities." 

The platform offers training sessions and gamified environments to help fill any skills gaps that are discovered during the analysis process. 

"This is a far more cost-effective and efficient way of training, speeding up the skills cycle in a way that is more relevant to today's remote workforce and the threat at hand. It will also allow CISOs to report on skills levels to the board to make them a bigger part of overall business cyber resilience," Hadley added. 

"At the heart of our platform are labs and crisis scenarios: gamified story-driven exercises accessible on-demand through the browser and suitable for a range of different roles and technical abilities. These are informed by emerging threat intelligence and are compiled by our team of in-house experts who specialize in everything from cyber crises to application security to encryption. New labs are created continually, sometimes within hours of a new threat emerging."

The company will use the recent funding influx to expand its footprint internationally and bring its global headcount to 600 within the next two years. There are also plans for regional operation centers in Europe and the Asia Pacific region. 

The company currently has headquarters in Boston and Bristol, with about 200 total employees. 

Venky Ganesan, a partner at Menlo Ventures, said the cybersecurity labor shortage made it important for organizations to get every employee up to speed on the latest threats. 

"Immersive Labs helps large organizations confront this head-on by combining smart data analysis with targeted training. The cybersecurity threat will only increase, making Immersive Labs future proof as they seek to help large enterprises educate and arm themselves against ever-evolving threats," Ganesan said. 

Other investors, like Arvind Purushotham from Citi Ventures, echoed those ideas, noting that Immersive Labs' work "creates visibility into and optimizes one of the most valuable assets in cyber defense, the human defenders."