Encrypted communications provider Silent Circle has raised approximately $50 million in a funding round aimed at pushing the company forward in the enterprise market.
Announced on Thursday, Silent Circle said "strong demand" from enterprise customers seeking to keep communication private through the Blackphone product range led the firm to launch a private, common equity round in order to grow and cater for new clients.
At the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, Silent Circle is set to unveil the "world's first privacy ecosystem," along with new devices, software and services. According to the company, the ecosystem will be a "unique" platform based on a fundamentally different mobile architecture -- the cryptographic key-agreement protocol ZRTP.
Mike Janke, co-Founder and Executive Chairman of the Silent Circle Board commented:
"Silent Circle has brought tremendous disruption to the mobile industry and created an integrated suite of secure enterprise communication products that are challenging the status quo. This first stage of growth has enabled us to raise approximately $50m to accelerate our continued rapid expansion and fuel our second stage of growth."
The Geneva, Switzerland-based firm also announced fundamental changes in corporate structure. On Thursday, Silent Circle reached an agreement with Geeksphone -- co-founder of the Blackphone project -- to buy out the companies' joint venture, SGP Technologies, granting Silent Circle 100 percent ownership of the JV and Blackphone product line.
SGP Technologies was founded in order to develop the Blackphone, a privacy-centric mobile device. The gadget features a custom Android operating system dubbed PrivatOS and is equipped with Silent Circle encrypted communications apps including Silent Phone and Silent Text.
The deal is expected to close this week. Silent Circle says the buyout will result in improved operational efficiencies and an "integrated product roadmap."
Financial details were not disclosed.
The news comes shortly after the January appointment of F. William "Bill" Conner as Silent Circle's new President and CEO, as well as a member of the Board. Conner, the former Entrust President and CEO, has worked in security roles for the enterprise spanning across the last 30 years.
"As the nature and volume of data breaches increase, institutional trust is eroding. There are companies that have been hacked and there are those that don't know about it yet, which means that security in the traditional sense has failed us. With the number of employees connecting to an enterprise's network using their own devices rapidly rising, organizations need a different solution.
In short, in a post-Sony and Gemalto world, security breaches have been made both enterprise and personal so it's no longer an issue affecting just the boardroom."
In May last year, Silent Circle secured $30 million in funding in a round led by investors Ross Perot Jr. and private investment fund Cain Capital LLC.
The company caters for customers in over 130 countries.