Cybersecurity Firm KnowBe4 Targets an IPO in 2021

A trusted cybersecurity company worth $1 billion is going for its own IPO. Here's what investors need to know about KnowBe4.

Rachel Curry - Author

Mar. 22 2021, Published 1:40 p.m. ET

In the age of cybersecurity-only ETFs like HACK, it makes sense that another member of the subsector is going public. This time, it's KnowBe4 Inc., which is a more than decade-old firm and a Microsoft Security awards finalist.

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Consistent growth has gotten KnowBe4 to its form S-1 with the SEC, but what comes next? 

KnowBe4's IPO date

After publicly filing its registration statement on March 19, KnowBe4 has the IPO prep process to look forward to. Based in Clearwater, Fla., the company plans to trade under the ticker symbol "KNBE" on the tech-oriented Nasdaq Exchange.

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As for when it will start trading publicly, retail investors don't know the projected date yet. It's a good idea to stay tuned for updates as the IPO progresses beyond the roadshow phase. 

KnowBe4 might be striving for a $100 million IPO.

The registration statement says that KnowBe4 is seeking an IPO worth $100 million. This could be accurate or it could be a placeholder for a more honed dollar value. For soon-to-be public companies, $100 million is a common placeholder as underwriters work to scrounge up a more accurate valuation.

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The company is worth $1 billion. With 1,000 employees, KnowBe4 is a growing firm that's heavily centered in its Clearwater home. KnowBe4 has grown a lot over the last few years in particular. Its 2018 revenue was $71.3 million, but that number jumped to $174.9 million in 2020. 

Who's backing the KnowBe4 offering?

The KnowBe4 IPO is supported by a team of underwriters, including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Securities, and KKR Capital Markets.

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KKR isn't just an underwriter for KnowBe4. KKR is also an investor. The backer injected $300 million into the firm in 2019. The other institutional backers include Goldman Sachs, Elephant, and Ten Eleven Ventures. 

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Early investors are still waiting on the predicted share price for the KnowBe4 IPO.

KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman took a different path when building KnowBe4. In the SEC filing, the company said, "By targeting human behavior rather than infrastructure, social engineering attacks can be utilized by attackers to circumvent multiple layers of security." The company's security awareness training programs have helped it amass more than 35,000 customers.

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Given the firm's standing, an IPO is a logical move. However, the share price is still on the table as we await news of the number of shares and official valuation (assuming the $100 million IPO valuation is a placeholder, as it tends to be).

Once the company is officially on the public market, it will be interesting to see if it becomes part of cybersecurity baskets like the iShares Cybersecurity and Tech ETF (IHAK), which has an 80.96 percent one-year growth, or the ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF (HACK), which has an 82.53 percent one-year growth.

Currently, we're just waiting to see what will come of the KnowBe4 IPO as the public offering process progresses. 


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