Cybersecurity start-up DarkMatter doubles revenue to $400m

The firm earns about 80% of its revenue from UAE government contracts
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.
By Bloomberg
Thu 01 Mar 2018 10:43 AM

DarkMatter, a three year-old United Arab Emirates-based cybersecurity firm, has more than doubled revenue last year to over $400 million.

The firm, which earns about 80 percent of its revenue from UAE government contracts, plans to grow from 650 to 900 employees by the end of the year, CEO Faisal Al Bannai said.

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 UAE play. Already today, we are in the UAE, 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 US 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 cybersecurity 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.

For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Last Updated: Thu 01 Mar 2018 10:26 AM GST

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.