Sophos Secures $60 Million

They go by names like Anna Kournikova and Britney Spears, but in this case we’re not talking celebrities, but computer viruses designed to fool unsuspecting users. The result cause catastrophic damage to a corporation’s network, and cost millions of dollars to fix.

Sophos Plc, a British-based firm that has developed an anti-virus protection, is vigilantly trying to thwart such occurrences.

Sophos, which has subsidiaries and branch offices in Lynnfield, Mass., Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Singapore, is focused exclusively on the corporate marketplace. Its products are intended to protect all key points in a company’s IT infrastructure including gateways, email, servers and desktops.

Because such viruses can cripple a company, even an industry, the demand for a top-notch anti-virus program is worth millions. In this case, it is worth $60 million, which is what TA Associates provided to finance the next stage of Sophos’s development.

Two TA Associates senior executives have taken board seats with Sophos, Ajit Nedungadi, a vice president at TA Associates, will serve on the Sophos’s UK board and Brian Conway, a managing director at TA Associates, will join on the board of Sophos Americas.

“We decided to partner with TA because of its deep software investment experience, extensive network of contacts and expertise in helping companies grow their business in the vital US market,” says Dr. Peter Lammer, co-founder and joint CEO of Sophos.

Lammer says the investment should enable Sophos to capitalize further on the worldwide growth in demand for anti-virus protection. Sophos has already experienced rapid growth in revenue and profitability, with more than 10 million users and annual growth in revenue of 50% over the last three years. Sophos’ products are sold in 150-plus countries.

Conway called Sophos “the kind of profitable, rapidly growing software company TA has always found attractive.”

While our government is busy warning Americans about potential terrorist threats these days, Sophos is doing its part to urge computer users to be extra cautious about virus threats related to the World Cup soccer tournament.

Sophos says that seemingly harmless World Cup screensavers, spreadsheets and electronic wall charts could provide the ideal vehicles for virus and worm propagation. The firm is advising employees and home PC users not to open unsolicited emails, download materials from the Internet or use anything on their computer that is not known to be virus-free.

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