Boss of UK cyber-security firm Darktrace backs more London tech floats

Boss of UK cyber-security firm Darktrace champions more London tech firm floats

The boss of a British cyber-security firm has said not enough tech companies are listed in the UK – and she wants to be a ‘flag bearer’ for those that do.

Poppy Gustafsson, chief executive of Darktrace, said she has no regrets about taking the company onto the London Stock Exchange in April last year.

Shares in the Cambridge-based business closed at 374.2p last night, up around 50 per cent since floating at 250p but more than 60 per cent down from last year’s peak of 985p.

‘Flag bearer’: Poppy Gustafsson (pictured), chief exec of Darktrace, said she has no regrets about taking the company onto the London Stock Exchange in April last year

Gustafsson said there were ‘misconceptions’ among some companies that they can raise more money by going to the US. 

The 40-year-old told the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI): ‘We’ve benefited hugely from being based in the UK.

‘I believe that the UK has been a great place to found the business. I feel very supported by the UK infrastructure. I wanted to be a flag bearer. I look at the London Stock Exchange and I don’t see enough tech companies on there.

‘I want to be part of changing and driving that and hopefully more companies will choose to list on the London Stock Exchange. Here we are 18 months later and I would still make the same choice.’

Online used car platform Cazoo and flying taxi firm Vertical are among UK-based companies that have chosen to list in New York over the last couple of years – and have seen their values fall sharply since making their debuts. 

A planned stock market float for world-leading, Cambridge-based chip designer Arm, owned by Japan’s Softbank conglomerate, has been delayed until next year amid lobbying from ministers for the initial public offering to take place in London.

Gustafsson told the Mail: ‘There’s often a perception that your market cap would be bigger in the US than it would be in the UK,’ adding: ‘I don’t have any regrets. Would I love to see more of them [tech firms] listed in the UK? 

‘Yes I would because I see it all the time and so many brilliant companies do exist, but not quite making their way into the Stock Exchange. I do think if we can encourage more businesses to go that way, that can only be a good thing.’