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Cylance, a cybersecurity startup that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to combat online attacks, has raised $120 million in a series E round of funding led by Blackstone Tactical Opportunities, with participation from other unnamed investors.

Founded in 2012 by Stuart McClure, an entrepreneur who sold an Internet security firm to McAfee for $86 million in 2004, Cylance is an endpoint protection platform designed to thwart malware, ransomware, and other forms of advanced threats using AI. Its suite of algorithm-based security protocols essentially inspect networks for weaknesses and shuts them down if any are detected.

Cylance claims in excess of 4,000 customers, and said that it has revenues of $130 million for the 2018 fiscal year, representing a year-on-year growth of 90 percent.

Prior to now, Cylance had raised around $177 million, including a $100 million tranche two years ago, and with another $120 million in the bank it said that it plans to double down on its global expansion efforts, with a particular focus on Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, and extend its product range.

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The timing of today’s announcement is notable, as it comes on the very same day as rival CrowdStrike announced a $200 million raise, taking its total funding to nearly $500 million and giving it a valuation of $3 billion as it mulls an IPO.

With the global cybersecurity industry expected to be heavily understaffed in the coming years, this opens up opportunities for automation and AI to fill the gaps. And that is partly why we’re seeing such significant investments in the vertical that’s occupied by Cylance and CrowdStrike.

“Cylance has proven that artificial intelligence can defend against cybersecurity problems that were previously thought impossible to prevent,” noted McClure. “With the most advanced application of AI in endpoint security, Cylance products continuously learn and improve over time, enabling customers to achieve a state of ‘perpetual prevention’ and creating a simple silence on the endpoint.”

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