This article has been updated to include a statement from an IronNet Cybersecurity spokesman. See below
Retired four-star general and former NSA Director Keith Alexander’s Fulton, Md.-based cybersecurity startup, IronNet Cybersecurity, has raised $7.5 million as part of a $25 million equity offering, according to an SEC filing. Alexander was named NSA director by President Bush in August 2005 and appointed by President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates as the first commander of U.S. Cyber Command in May 2010. He is now a entrepreneur and consultant in the cybersecurity space.
Alexander, who is the founder and CEO of IronNet, originally announced he would leave the NSA in October 2013, following months of mounting international criticism due to revelations regarding the intelligence agency’s bulk collection practices by now infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden. He then quickly ventured into the private sphere alongside colleagues Matt Olsen, formerly the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), former Director of Operations at U.S. Cyber Command Brett Williams and former Director of Exercise and Training at U.S. Cyber Command George Lamont.
IronNet Cybersecurity first made headlines last year, and it received subsequent criticism, when Alexander said his company’s services came with a monthly price tag of $1 million for protection. According to Bloomberg Business, that price tag has since been reduced to $600,000 per month.
The security startup may be better defined as a star-studded consultancy firm that produces security software. The majority of the company’s clients are in the financial sector, Bloomberg reported in 2014.
IronNet Cybersecurity’s technology is described as an “integrated, end-to-end approach … that offers breakthrough, patent-pending technology, providing real-time threat assessment and updates, complex behavioral modeling, big data analytics and proactive responses, along with comprehensive consulting and training services.”
The raise seems to resemble IronNet Cybersecurity’s first private investment round since being founded last year by Alexander and friends. No investors are disclosed in the SEC filing but there’s at least some suggestion that a Silicon Valley based VC firm is involved.
Interestingly, a recent announcement made by Silicon Valley-based Trident Capital Cybersecurity reads, “Managing Directors Alberto Yépez, Don Dixon and Sean Cunningham co-lead the cybersecurity investment team and are on the Boards of Airtight Networks, AlienVault, Blue Cat, Hytrust, IronNet Cybersecurity, Mocana, and Qualys.”
IronNet Cybersecurity does not provide board information on their website, however, so the relation is unclear. It is also unclear, at the moment, if Trident Capital Cybersecurity is even an investor in IronNet Cybersecurity.
Update (9/10/15 10:37 p.m.):
In a statement provided to DC Inno, an IronNet Cybersecurity spokesman said “IronNet Cybersecurity recently received a significant round of venture financing led by Trident Capital Cybersecurity with the participation of other key partners. This represents a key milestone for IronNet as we move forward with developing our product and building our workforce. IronNet will use the funding to scale its product launch, speed growth, and increase investment in product innovation for the patent pending technology that is part of the IronNet platform. We’re excited to be working with Trident and looking forward to further advances in the development of our product.”