DarkMatter, a three year-old United Arab Emirates-based cyber security firm, has more than doubled revenue last year to over $400 million.
The firm, which earns about 80 percent of its revenue from U.A.E. government contracts, plans to grow from 650 to 900 employees by the end of the year, Chief Executive Officer Faisal Al Bannai told Bloomberg in an interview.
DarkMatter, founded by Al Bannai in 2014, is one of the few regional cybersecurity firms in the Middle East. The startup plans to increase its focus on ‘smartcity’ projects, helping cities use data to improve security, and provide services to blockchain-focused businesses.
“The opportunity is big,” said Al Bannai. “This is not supposed to be a U.A.E. play. Already today, we are in the U.A.E., in Finland, in Canada, and China. The aim is to start expanding in the region, and take a stronger foothold in the region.”
Al Bannai said he has had initial talks with investors in the U.S. and Europe regarding a potential acquisition and may explore a sale at a later stage. He declined to give a valuation.
DarkMatter’s employees include a number of former National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency analysts. The firm was hired by Dubai-based financial services company Eastnets to boost its cyber security after allegations that the firm was hacked enabling payments processed by the company to be monitored. Eastnets denied the allegation.
Al Bannai, who founded mobile retailer Axiom Telecom in 1997, also said the company had sold out of the first production run of its own smartphone, called Katim, and was considering producing another batch. The company has already sold “a few thousand units” of the phone, which DarkMatter says is the world’s most secure mobile. It plans to market the device to governments and companies in the banking and oil and gas industries, he said.
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