BlackBerry has announced the acquisition of California-based cybersecurity provider Cylance for US$1.4 billion in cash.
The announcement on November 16, 2018 closely followed the September launch of BlackBerry Spark, an Enterprise of Things (EoT) platform which the company said is designed for ultra-security and industry-specific safety-certifications.
The Ontario-based BlackBerry is taking its push into software and services a notch higher with the new AI-based cybersecurity platform that Cylance will be bringing into the company.
“Cylance’s leadership in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity will immediately complement our entire portfolio," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO of BlackBerry, in a statement.
Founded in 2012, Cylance has over 3,500 active enterprise customers, including more than 20 percent of the Fortune 500. It was no. 18 on Forbes’ Cloud 100 list and No. 10 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500. It also has over 100 patents and patent applications in cyber security and machine learning.
Moreover, Cylance’s technical team of over 300 software engineers and data scientists will be joining BlackBerry.
Cylance Co-Founder and CEO Steve McClure said its skilled cybersecurity workforce will be a perfect fit within BlackBerry.
“Our customers, teams, and technologies will gain immediate benefits from BlackBerry’s global reach,” he said in a statement.
Though the company he co-founded will operate as a separate business unit within BlackBerry Limited, McClure will continue to lead Cylance, reporting to Chen.
According to data from Crunchbase, Cylance has raised a total of US$297 million in five founding rounds before the BlackBerry acquisition, the latest of which is the Series E funding from Blackstone Tactical Opportunities in June 2018 for US$120 million.
Eye on security
Security has been cited as the top barrier to the success of the internet of things (IoT). In its most recent IoT Backbone Survey, research firm Gartner revealed that 35 percent of poll respondents cited security as a challenge.
Privacy concerns (25 percent), and potential risks, and liabilities in (25 percent) in the top five.
At the BlackBerry Security Summit 2018 in New York in October, Chen talked about the BlackBerry Spark as a “most secure” platform for EOT.