Cybersecurity firm BlueVoyant has taken $250m in a fresh funding round announced this week, pushing the company’s valuation past the $1bn mark.

BlueVoyant is led by Jim Rosenthal, formerly chief operating officer at Morgan Stanley. He said that while the investment firm was spending hundreds of millions to protect itself from cyberthreats, it still wasn’t always able to shut the door to what could be coming from the supply chain.

The exec, whose job at Morgan Stanley also had him reporting to the board of directors for cybersecurity, said he took that experience to heart when in 2017 he helped found BlueVoyant, which sells security tools and managed services to enterprises.

The CEO feels that cyberattacks present the most serious and continuous threats to global economies and will continue to do so in the future.

BlueVoyant, which expanded into 10 additional countries last year, was founded on two working principles. “The first was that most enterprises didn’t have the economic resources or talent to defend themselves well and they would need an expert service that could do it both more effectively and more efficiently,” Rosenthal told The Register, adding that “most companies in the world, even with very advanced defenses, don’t always have enough talent to effectively cover the supply chain, which has got several thousand participants in it.”

It wouldn’t be economically feasible for even the largest enterprises to spend the millions of dollars it would take to build their own cybersecurity platform, but “it’s OK for us to spend $100m doing that because we do it on behalf of many companies,” he said.

Since its founding, BlueVoyant has raised more than $525m in investment funding, including the $250m in Series D financing announced this week.

The latest round was led by Liberty Strategic Capital, a private equity investor headed by former US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin.

It also included money from existing investors such as ISTARI, Eden Global Partners, and 8VC.

BlueVoyant says it will use the money to expand its market presence. The company has about 500 customers in 30 countries and is adding about two every quarter. Customers range from larger enterprises that use BlueVoyant to augment their existing security efforts and smaller ones that rely totally on the company for their protection.

Its portfolio includes managed detection and response services inside an enterprise’s networks and endpoints, third-party risk management for supply chains and investments, and digital risk protection, which provides real-time visibility of external threats. BlueVoyant also offers professional services.

The platform runs Microsoft’s Azure Sentinel product suite, a cloud-native security information and event management (SIEM) platform that uses artificial intelligence to speed up response to threats, as well as Splunk Cloud Platform.

In 2020, BlueVoyant bought Concanon, a professional services company focused on analytics provider Splunk, stating at the time that the deal would enable “BlueVoyant to provide end-to-end services to customers already in the Splunk Cloud Platform and to those customers who are interested in migrating.”

“We are extraordinarily good at both installing and delivering both those cybersecurity products – installing, delivering and operating,” Rosenthal told The Reg.

“We built all this as a technology platform so we can do that anywhere in the world at scale and we don’t have to reinvent it every time. I don’t know of anyone else who can do that and that’s because we were lucky enough to be founded four years ago, not 14 years ago. We were strategically fortunate enough, so we were going to specialize in cloud-related activities.”

The latest funding round follows a year in which BlueVoyant acquired three companies and expanded into more than 10 countries. According to BlueVoyant, the company has averaged 117 per cent recurring revenue growth each year since 2018 although it has not made those actual revenues public.

Rosenthal said BlueVoyant’s approach to cybersecurity has helped fuel the rapid growth and that its specialization in Azure Sentinel and Splunk Cloud is a key differentiator in the market.

“BlueVoyant has spent more than $100m over the past three years building out its supply chain defense service because what most vendors do now is help enterprises rate the risk of suppliers and other partners rather than protect them against that risk.”

Threats coming through the supply chain have become a key issue since the high-profile attacks on IT supplier SolarWinds, whose updates for its Orion IT monitoring platform were backdoored by suspected Russian spies. The incident affected IT management software provider Kaseya last year, where bad actors were able to leverage those vendors to threaten their customers and tech partners.

“At the end of the day, what you want to do is make sure that the suppliers who have your data or who have software connectivity to you or who are critical for just-in-time production or whatever you’re building aren’t disrupted by an easily executed cyberattack and an easily executed cyberattack means that there has to be both an externally perceivable vulnerability and an attacker looking to take advantage of that,” Rosenthal said.

“Since it’s externally visible, a defector could see that, too.”

BlueVoyant can interact with the suppliers “to tell them exactly what the vulnerability is in their network, why it’s important and deliver the patch right to them so that they can install it,” the CEO claimed. “That’s cyber-defense as opposed to cyber-risk score. We’re big believers in everything we do is oriented towards the facts. We’re not interested in merely keeping score.” ®