Forter, which has developed solutions for preventing fraud in ecommerce, has joined the crowded Israeli club of unicorns - privately held technology companies valued at over $1 billion. Forter announced today that it had completed a fund-raising round of $125 million at a valuation of $1.25 billion (before money). The round was led by US venture capital firm Bessemer and Itai Tsiddon, one of the founders of Lightricks, which itself became a unicorn last year.
Other participants in the round were Felix Capital, Sequoia Capital, NewView Capital, Scale Venture Partners, March Capital Partners and Commerce Ventures. Altogether, Forter has raised $225 million to date in disclosed funding rounds that injected capital into the company. There have also been secondary rounds in which existing shareholders sold shares, but Forter does not disclose their size.
Forter has already marked out its next target - an IPO. Talking to "Globes", Liron Damri, co-founder and president of the company, said that Forter was already gearing up for an IPO, but that the timing had yet to be determined. "An IPO depends on market momentum and timing. We are working on being ready for an IPO; the question when will be decided together with the professionals," Damri said.
Damri said that the company was valued at $700 million in the last secondary round last year. One of the reasons that its valuation has shot up is the coronavirus pandemic which led to a steep rise on online commerce all over the world, raising demand for Forter's products. Forter currently employs more than 250 people, 160 of them in Israel, and its target is to grow by another 200 employees worldwide, half of them in Israel.
Forter was founded by Damri, Michael Reitblat, its CEO, and Alon Shemesh, its chief analyst. The three worked together at Fraud Sciences, which was acquired by PayPal. The idea behind Forter is to turn the process of identification and fraud prevention in ecommerce into something completely automatic. Its solution is installed in the ecommerce websites of some of the world's largest retailers, and deals with a turnover of transactions amounting to some $200 billion annually. It protects against credit card fraud, identity theft, hacking of accounts, and other threats. Among its customers are fashion chain Nordstrom, Home Depot, tourism company Priceline, and brands such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.
"The fund-raising round happened very quickly. We started the process three and a half weeks ago and it made very rapid progress. The truth is that we expected high demand in the light of our third quarter results and the momentum of the past year, and that is what happened. It was easy to move ahead with raising money when the results spoke for themselves," Damri says. Forter's annual revenue is "a long way north of $100 million," he says, and the second quarter this year was the first time that the company recorded positive cash flow.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 20, 2020
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