Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Business

KnowBe4 going public as Clearwater firm aims for $100 million IPO

The $1 billion cybersecurity firm will be listed on the Nasdaq under the symbol “KNBE.”
Members of KnowBe4's human resources department meet in a conference room in March 2019 in its Clearwater headquarters. Now valued at $1 billion, KnowBe4 has filed for an initial public offering and wants to raise up to $100 million.
Members of KnowBe4's human resources department meet in a conference room in March 2019 in its Clearwater headquarters. Now valued at $1 billion, KnowBe4 has filed for an initial public offering and wants to raise up to $100 million. [ URSO, CHRIS | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Mar. 21
Updated Mar. 21

CLEARWATER — The cybersecurity firm KnowBe4 is going public and wants to raise $100 million.

The company filed a document Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission declaring that it has filed an initial public offering in the U.S.

KnowBe4 is valued at about $1 billion and has just over 1,000 employees, most of whom work in the firm’s downtown Clearwater headquarters.

The company has reported jumps in revenue over the past three years: $71.3 million in 2018, $120.6 million in 2019 and $174.9 million last year.

The lead underwriters are Morgan Stanley & Co., Goldman Sachs, BofA Securities and KKR Capital Markets. The Tampa Bay Business Journal, which first broke the story, reported that KKR invested $300 million into KnowBe4 in 2019.

Related: At Top Workplace KnowBe4, the culture preceded the workforce

A KnowBe4 company spokeswoman said Saturday that the company would not comment about the initial public offering, or IPO, which allows investors and the public to buy shares. The company did not disclose how many shares will be offered or at what price.

KnowBe4 will be listed on the Nasdaq using the symbol “KNBE.”

CEO Stu Sjouwerman (pronounced shower-man) founded KnowBe4 in 2010 to tackle cybersecurity from the human side of the equation.

Companies hire his firm to train their employees to recognize and resist social engineering: when hackers use fake emails, texts and voicemails to manipulate and trick an organization’s staff into giving up passwords and credentials that could be used to access networks.

“In effect, by targeting human behavior rather than infrastructure, social engineering attacks can be utilized by attackers to circumvent multiple layers of security,” the company wrote in its SEC filing.

Stu Sjouwerman, founder and CEO of KnowBe4, poses in his work area in the executive suite of the cybersecurity company's Clearwater headquarters in February 2020.
Stu Sjouwerman, founder and CEO of KnowBe4, poses in his work area in the executive suite of the cybersecurity company's Clearwater headquarters in February 2020. [ SCOTT KEELER | TAMPA BAY TIMES ]

The company said more than 31,000 entities use its security awareness training, which can simulate phishing and other attacks that could leave companies vulnerable to hacking, data theft and ransomware.

The Tampa Bay region is home to a growing cybersecurity and technology sector. Aside from KnmowBe4, cybersecurity firms like ReliaQuest and A-LIGN also operate locally and in January OPSWAT announced that it was moving its headquarters from San Francisco to Tampa.

Rebecca and Stu Sjouwerman are also philanthropists who have cut big checks to support community projects.

In November, the couple pledged to donate $2 million to help Pinellas County meet the $10 million asking price to buy and preserve 44 acres once owned by philanthropist Gladys Douglas. The Dunedin property is at the top of Pinellas County’s preservation list but is coveted by developers.

The Sjouwermans are also fully-funding the Humane Society of Pinellas’ new $4 million, state-of-the-art pet adoption center off State Road 590 in Clearwater.