Cybersecurity startup IronNet shuts down, lays off staff

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Cybersecurity startup IronNet shuts down, lays off staff

IronNet, a once-promising cybersecurity startup that was founded by a former NSA director and funded by cyber and defense investors, has shuttered and laid off its staff.

IronNet's president and chief financial officer Cameron Pforr announced Friday that the company has ceased all business activities as it prepares for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, effectively liquidating the company's remaining assets to pay its remaining debts.

IronNet, based in Virginia, was established in 2014 by former National Security Agency director Keith Alexander, soon after he departed as the former director of the National Security Agency. IronNet provides corporations and government agencies with technology to protect against cyber threats, using large datasets and analytics to automate threat intelligence. Its other products were designed to protect critical infrastructure.

The company has raised more than $400 million in venture capital funding, including a $78 million Series B in 2018 led by C5 Capital, with participation from ForgePoint Capital and Kleiner Perkins, and lauded customers like media and financial giant Thomson Reuters. IronNet received $5.6 million in federal loans from the federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After going public in August 2021, the company did not find traction, with its stock price declining following an initial surge. In the same year, IronNet had fewer than 100 corporate customers. IronNet also cut 17% of its workforce in June, a company spokesman said.

In July, Alexander served as CEO of IronNet until he was replaced by Linda Zecher, the chairperson of IronNet's largest investor, C5 Capital, as part of the investment firm's effort to rescue the company. The current chair of IronNet's board, Alexander, also served on the board of SolCyber.