9. Cylance

Making cyberthreats idle

Founders: Stuart McClure (CEO), Ryan Permeh
Launched: 2012
Funding: $177 million
Valuation: $1 billion (PitchBook)
Disrupting: Cybersecurity, artificial intelligence
Rival: Symantec

George Kavallines

Though cybersecurity firm Cylance has been working with high-profile clients such as Panasonic, The Gap and Toyota since its founding in 2012, it was a government agency that gave the Irvine, California-based company its biggest boost in 2016. That's when a congressional report concluded that Cylance played a pivotal role in discovering and stopping malware that caused the massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management that stole the personal information of more than 20 million current and former government employees.

Read More FULL LIST: 2017 DISRUPTOR 50

Cylance was able to do that because it approaches cybersecurity in a different way. Unlike reactionary methods and behavior monitoring that most cybersecurity firms employ, Cylance says it uses a mix of artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze a file's characteristics and predict whether that file is safe or a threat to the host.

Stuart McClure, the former chief technology officer at antivirus software firm McAfee; and Ryan Permeh, the former chief scientist at McAfee, started the company because they realized from their years in network and computer security that businesses needed a more effective and proactive way of responding to cyberthreats and malware.

The company is already working with hundreds of companies and government agencies. It says its billings have grown over 1,000 percent since it was launched in 2012, making it one of the fastest security start-ups.

Cylance raised $100 million last June in a Series D round that's allowing Cylance to continue its global expansion with new offices in Ireland, Japan and Australia. In total, the company has raised $177 million from investors, including Blackstone Tactical Opportunities, Insight Venture Partners and DFJ Growth.

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