Desmond invests in cyber security firm

Vahna said it received “significant investment” from IIU in order to fund expansion

A new National Security Agency (NSA) data gathering facility is seen under construction in Bluffdale, about 40 kms south of Salt Lake City, Utah. Photograph:  Jimmy Urquhart/ Reuters)

A new National Security Agency (NSA) data gathering facility is seen under construction in Bluffdale, about 40 kms south of Salt Lake City, Utah. Photograph: Jimmy Urquhart/ Reuters)

 

IIU, the private equity firm led by financier Dermot Desmond, has invested in Vahna, a cyber-security firm. The United States company is led by Brendan Conlon, a veteran leader of offensive computer network operations with the National Security Agency.

Vahna, which was founded in 2010, said in a statement it had received a “significant investment” from IIU in order to fund its expansion, but did not disclose any exact numbers.

The company said Mr Desmond’s son Brett will join the board of the start-up which has developed a security platform to rapidly detect and respond to cyber attacks.

“Bolstered by a team with unparalleled cyber experience and innovative breach detection platform, Vahna is well-positioned to seize an enormous market opportunity,” Brett Desmond said.

Confidence

“We are excited to have IIU’s investment and confidence, as they have a long and successful background in growing young companies,” he said.

Vahna’s chief scientist is Jeff Tang, who was hired from Goldman Sachs to join the NSA as a “Global Network Exploitation and Vulnerability Analyst”.

Mr Tang describes his job with the NSA on Vahna’s website as conducting “computer network exploitation operations to enable and collect foreign intelligence in support of national security requirements.”

Prior to working with the NSA, company founder Mr Conlon also worked as a technical operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency.

IIU has a track-record of investing in technology and security firms.