Goldman Sachs tops the number of private investors who have helped Immerse Lab, a cyber-security skills platform raise $8 million in Series A funding. Immerse Labs was founded by James Hadley, who previously worked as a researcher at GCHQ.
Operating in the cybersecurity training space, Immersive Labs helps enterprise IT and other cybersecurity teams acquire the latest security skills by combining up to date threat data with what it describes as ‘gamified’ learning. This sees the startup use real-time feeds of the latest attack techniques, hacker psychology, and technological vulnerabilities to quickly create ‘cyber wargames’ for IT and security teams to learn from.
The idea is that the platform can up-skill people within hours of a threat emerging, in addition to being used more generally to help identify and remedy less immediate weaknesses in a company’s cybersecurity team.
‘First, there is a big picture problem that the world is crying out for cybersecurity talent and is currently struggling to fill that gap,’ Immersive Labs founder and CEO James Hadley said. ‘Secondly, the way that cyber skills are being taught is massively obsolete and puts the companies they work for at risk. On many occasions, what is taught is out of date before people leave the classroom’.
The inspiration for Immersive Labs was born out of Hadley’s experience running a summer school at GCHQ. It was while running the course that he came to the realisation that ‘passive classroom-based learning doesn’t suit the people, or pace, of cyber security’.
‘Not only does the content date quickly, but the lack of challenge is just not enough for the curious and creative minds required to be good in cyber. You can’t dictate, they have to teach themselves through exploration,’ he says.
‘We let technical and security teams learn cyber skills like an attacker, allowing them to keep pace by combining breaking threat data with short browser-based wargames. This takes the form of a series of stories that encourage people to research, analyse and build their own attacks and solutions. Whilst doing this, they learn in a fun and compelling way’.
To that end, Immersive Labs says its Series A funding will be used to grow its offering for enterprise IT and cybersecurity teams. This will include investing in headcount and infrastructure to develop the platform further, and to support the company’s go-to-market strategy. Current clients include global corporates with complex cybersecurity needs, such as BAE Systems, Sophos and Grant Thornton.