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Billion Dollar Unicorns: Lookout Getting Ready for an IPO

Posted on Friday, Jun 12th 2015

A recent Allied Market Research report forecasts the global mobile security market to grow 41% annually to $34.8 billion by 2020. The market was estimated to be worth $3.4 billion in 2013. San Francisco-based Lookout is a leading mobile device security market player and a prestigious Billion Dollar Unicorn club member.

Lookout’s Offerings

Lookout was set up in 2007 by University of South California graduates John Hering, James Burgess, and Kevin Mahaffey under the name Flexilis. Flexilis was founded even before the original iPhone was launched and came into the spotlight when they demonstrated the possibility of hacking into a phone through a Bluetooth device. Soon, the company had pivoted itself to become a mobile security service provider.

They were focused on the belief that to properly protect people and enterprises from mobile attacks, a new data analysis-based approach was needed. The Lookout team wanted to develop a service that would leverage data analytics capabilities with predictive machine intelligence to offer a security service that was reliable and scalable.

Their cloud-based platform uses a global sensor network of over 70 million users and several thousands of apps to get access to mobile codes. They then use this code to analyze connections that would have otherwise gone unnoticed and helps keep mobile devices secure.

They offer mobile security services for both individuals and organizations. The Personal Lookout for Android and iOS phones uses their advanced security algorithm to identify threats and stop attackers from hacking the user’s device. Additionally, they allow users to find missing devices and provide theft alert capabilities and automatic data backup services. For organizations, Lookout provides mobile threat protection to detect and stop mobile threats, a mobile intelligence center to get visibility across all apps, firmwares, and device models, and an app vetting API to vet apps before employee distribution.

Lookout’s Financials

Lookout operates on a freemium model. The basic Personal offering is available for free and comes with features such as an automatic malware and spyware protection and the ability to find lost or stolen devices and to backup contacts. The premium version comes at a price of $3 per month and offers additional security services such as the ability to manage apps that can access personal info, back up other data besides contacts, and remotely lock or wipe data to prevent data theft. Lookout does not disclose any financials, but they have seen rapid customer adoption over the last year. User base has grown from 30 million in February 2013 to 50 million by March 2014. Their website lists the latest count at 70 million users.

They have been venture funded so far with $282 million in investments from Wellington Management, Morgan Stanley, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Accel Partners, Khosla Ventures, T-Venture, Qualcomm Ventures, Deutsche Telekom, Mithril Capital Management, Greylock Partners, SV Angel, Trilogy Equity Partners, Joseph Ansanelli, Chris Sacca, and Kevin Hartz. Their last round of funding was held in August 2014 when they raised $150 million at an undisclosed valuation. Prior to that round, they had raised $55 million in October 2013 at a valuation of $1 billion. The company is now preparing for an IPO and strengthening their enterprise level presence. Lookout will have to compete with the likes of Intel and Symantec in that segment. Lookout believes that they have the capability to compete with them given their strong product offering and market adoption.

More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. Unicorns will also be discussed with some special guests during our 1M/1M Roundtable programs over the next few weeks. To be a part of the conversation, please register here. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures.

This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns


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. Gaurav Dhillon, Founder of Informatica and SnapLogic (Part 1)
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. Gaurav Dhillon, Founder of Informatica and SnapLogic (Part 2)
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