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DENVER – Cybersecurity specialist SpiderOak raised $16.4 million in a Series C investment round led by Empyrean Technology Solutions, a space technology platform affiliated with Madison Dearborn Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm.

Method Capital and OCA Ventures participated in the round.

“Today, space-based assets are mission essential in all civil and military operations and rapidly becoming mission critical for all national and corporate infrastructure,” Charles Beams, SpiderOak executive chairman, said in a statement. “The Space Force and the space industry consensus is that a cyber-attack is the most likely and most damaging threat to these assets.”

SpiderOak has quickly raised its profile in the space sector by winning U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research contracts for OrbitSecure, an off-the-shelf product designed to enhance satellite and constellation cybersecurity.

“Space is a demanding environment in many ways and SpiderOak’s proven zero-trust solution, using its patented distributed ledger technology, is well positioned to address these cyber threats head-on,” said Beames, a former Defense Department principal director for space and intelligence systems.

With funding from the investment round, SpiderOak plans to complete on-orbit testing and obtain flight heritage for its second-generation space product, OrbitSecure 2.0.

In addition, SpiderOak is moving its headquarters from Chicago to Reston, Virginia, and establishing a space cybersecurity laboratory. In the new laboratory, SpiderOak will provide for hardware-in-the-loop qualification testing.

“SpiderOak brings a wealth of industry experience in cybersecurity solutions to national security, an area we are already heavily invested in,” Matt Norton, Madison Dearborn Partners managing director, said in a statement. “Their proven track record in developing commercial zero-trust technology is backed by a substantial patent portfolio.”

SpiderOak CEO Dave Pearah, said in a statement that the company’s software is “backwards compatible with legacy space systems, to allow current on orbit systems to take the step to much higher cybersecurity protections.”

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...