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Israeli Startup That Fights Online Fraud to List in London

(Bloomberg) -- Israeli cybersecurity startup BrandShield Ltd. plans to go public on London’s AIM exchange via a reverse merger with Two Shields Investments Plc, according to a statement.

BrandShield, a seven-year old firm that detects and counters online fraud and phishing attacks, has seen sales surge during the Covid-19 pandemic. The company also raised 3.2 million pounds ($4.2 million) in a placing at 20 pence a share and will have a market value of about $30 million when it starts trading.

Stay-home orders during the virus outbreak have accelerated a global digital shift, which has also resulted in a proliferation of new cyber threats. An August report from Interpol found the biggest increase was in phishing, scams and fraud.

“All these changes are just showing for us the potential for our company to grow,” Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Yoav Keren said in an interview. “It accelerated business and accelerated sales cycles, definitely.”

Clients cut across sectors, from finance to clothing companies like jeans-maker Levi Strauss & Co. and New Balance Athletics Inc. One main area of recent growth has been pharmaceutical companies, driven by increased attention to the industry, with the startup’s new sales in the first half of 2020 almost equivalent to all those for the whole of the prior year, according to Keren.

Israel boasts a strong cybersecurity sector, giving rise to 23 startup exits last year worth around $3.5 billion, according to IVC Research Center. Keren, 48, previously founded a domain name registrar company and was an adviser to Haim Ramon, a former vice premier and minister in several of Israel’s cabinets.

Two Shields Investments paid 13.15 million pounds for the BrandShield shares it didn’t already own. Pending a shareholder vote, the combined entity will make its debut in London on Dec. 1 under the name BrandShield Systems Plc.

SPARK Advisory Partners is the nominated adviser and Optiva Securities Ltd. and Mirabaud Securities Ltd. were the brokers on the placing.

(Updates paragraphs one, two, seven and eight with details from the statement.)

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