Tampa-based Hook Security, which provides a cybersecurity training platform, has closed a $5.5 million funding round.
The oversubscribed funding round was led by returning investor Tampa Bay Ventures. Orlando-based DeepWork Capital, Colorado-based Stout Street Capital and individual investors also participated in the round, according to an announcement this week.
“This investment will bolster our ability to really capture the inbound demand we are seeing. People are coming to us as they are looking for new alternatives in the outdated cybersecurity training space,” said CEO and co-founder Zachary Eikenberry.
Hook Security, based in Lakeland’s Catapult co-working hub, focuses on training companies’ non-technical employees to detect cyber threats and scams.
“We aren’t trying to create cybersecurity experts; we are training people to be aware of when they are being manipulated online,” Eikenberry said. “We are at that intersection of cybersecurity and the phycology behind the attacks. Based on the latest research, we are seeing more scammers target individuals versus groups. Phishing still exists with the massive amount of scam emails on the rise, but people are engaging with scammers unknowingly over time.”
The new investment will allow Hook Security’s 21-person team to operate in “stealth mode,” further refining and updating the training platform. Hook Security typically works with two classes of clients: channel managers (IT outsourcing companies) and small enterprise businesses.
Tampa Bay Ventures, which previously invested in Hook Security’s bridge round, said it continues to see value in the platform.
“At Tampa Bay Ventures, we view cybersecurity as a critical infrastructure for the future of any company. We believe that Hook Security’s proprietary methods, including PsySec [Hook’s product], represent the future of the industry and offer a unique approach to fighting cybercrime,” Tampa Bay Ventures General Partner Andreas Calabrese said in a prepared statement.
Hook Security and Tampa Bay Ventures were introduced last year through Tampa Bay Wave’s inaugural CyberTech X Accelerator program.
Eikenberry said he formed a relationship with the investor DeepWork Capital at a recent pitch event hosted by Black Dog Venture Partners in St. Petersburg. Stout Street Capital connected with Hook Security separately.
While the team is enhancing its platform with the new funding, Eikenberry said Hook Security plans to raise a Series A round in 2024.