Dallas tech unicorn Island attracts a new $60 million investment
A cash infusion has brought two-year-old Dallas IT software startup Island’s total funding to over $285 million.
The new $60 million investment, led by Toronto-based fintech company Georgian, reaffirms Island’s $1.3 billion valuation and unicorn status, according to the company.
Georgian’s support is an extension of Island’s previous financing round led by Insight Partners, a New York-based global venture capital and private equity firm. It previously announced in March that it had raised $115 million in the funding round. In July, Cisco Investments put $10 million into the company.
The startup, founded in 2020, spent two years building its first-of-its-kind browser product and emerged from stealth in February with $100 million in funding.
Island is one of 22 Texas startups with valuations exceeding $1 billion, according to tracking site Crunchbase.
Island’s main product, its Enterprise Browser, is a browser that companies can use for their workforce that offers the company more control and better security, according to Island. For example, a company’s IT department could use the product to prevent copying and pasting, block screen capturing and prevent hackers from stealing data.
“Think of it as this separate browser from your personal one,” said Island co-founder and CEO Mike Fey. “When you click on that browser, you go to work.”
The browser is built on the same open-source project that powers Google’s Chrome, making it familiar to users.
Cybersecurity is increasingly important for companies as more employees work from home, in coffee shops, hotels and other places.
Fey said Island gets frequently approached by potential investors. He said the company went with Georgian because it has engineering talent around artificial intelligence and machine learning that can help Island grow.
“A lot of venture capital firms just show up with cash,” Fey said. “The ones we go with have all shown up with a significant ability to help us succeed beyond the cash.”
Georgian’s mission is to “identify and accelerate the best growth-stage software companies,” according to its website.
Steve Leightell, lead investor at Georgian, said some of the world’s largest companies use Island’s product to improve security and the user experience.
“Island is leading one of the biggest enterprise software replacement cycles that we’ve seen,” Leightell said.
Fey declined to discuss if Island intends to go public. He also wouldn’t identify companies using the browser and said Island is in the process of getting permission to use customer logos on its website.
“I can say we have customers in almost every size and vertical, including financial, retail and power,” he said.
The startup was founded by Fey, who previously worked in executive roles at security software company Symantec (now called NortonLifeLock and headquartered in Tempe, Ariz.) and in the McAfee division of Intel’s security arm, and CTO Dan Amiga, who was founder and CTO of Israeli enterprise cybersecurity company Fireglass.
Island will end the year with about 150 employees, including 40 in its Dallas office at Cypress Waters. The company will likely double its workforce over the next year, Fey said.
While the market for tech talent is more competitive than ever, Fey said North Texas has a massive cybersecurity presence.
“There are not that many meaningful companies doing exciting stuff,” he said. “We’ve been able to hire fairly easily because we’re doing something truly new and disruptive, which is exciting to top talent.”