Searchlight Cyber Announces Strategic Growth Investment from Charlesbank Capital Partners

The new investment will enable Searchlight to expand and strengthen its threat intelligence platform and go-to-market offering

PORTSMOUTH, United Kingdom and BOSTON, Jan. 18, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Searchlight Cyber ("Searchlight" or the “Company”), a U.K.-based dark web intelligence company, today announced that it has received a strategic growth investment from Charlesbank Capital Partners (“Charlesbank”), a middle-market private investment firm based in Boston and New York.

Used by enterprise cybersecurity, managed security service providers, and government and law enforcement customers across Europe and North America, Searchlight’s platform provides mission-critical dark web intelligence to meet a core need: helping customers both identify and prevent cybercrime. The platform leverages a highly differentiated dataset spanning marketplaces, forums, and hidden sites and is built on a foundation of more than 15 years of leading academic research in dark web technologies. Since it was founded in 2017, Searchlight has supported some of the world’s largest dark web investigations and helped prevent cyberattacks before they occur.

The Company has been owned by its co-founders, Ben Jones and Dr. Gareth Owenson, and Astra Capital Management, a Washington, D.C. based private equity firm, since 2020. Searchlight’s co-founders will continue to lead the company and have retained their investment in the business. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Our rapid growth in recent years is a testament to the commitment and expertise within our team, who have helped us build what we believe to be the best dark web intelligence solution in the market,” said Searchlight CEO and Co-Founder Ben Jones. “We are grateful for Astra’s support to date and believe Charlesbank’s extensive strategic and operational experience in scaling software companies makes them the ideal partner to support our business as we build on our momentum.”

Charlesbank’s investment in Searchlight is a result of a multi-year thematic initiative in threat intelligence and cybersecurity more broadly. The firm plans to leverage its deep domain expertise and experience scaling software companies to help Searchlight grow its business organically as well as through acquisitions.

“The continued growth of the dark web poses systemic risks to both public and private enterprises,” said Darren Battistoni, Managing Director at Charlesbank. “Searchlight’s expansive, user-friendly product suite, combined with its differentiated dataset, positions it as a leading innovator in this growing sector, illuminating the dark web to help customers stop cybercriminal activity.”

Added Dhruva Kaul, a Principal at Charlesbank, “Ben and Gareth have built a successful business in a rapidly evolving and strategic segment of the market. Searchlight is well-positioned to expand its capabilities and market share, and we look forward to supporting the founders and helping them chart the company’s next chapter.”

Matt Murphy, Co-Founder of Astra Capital Management, commented, “We are immensely proud of the growth Searchlight has achieved since we partnered with this impressive management team back in 2020.” Daniel Ben-Ami, Principal at Astra, added, “Ben, Gareth, and the broader leadership team have built an innovative software platform, leveraging timely intelligence to empower their customers, identify and prevent cybercrime, and promote a safe Internet for society. We look forward to witnessing their continued growth and success in the future.”

Dr. Gareth Owenson, Co-Founder and CTO of Searchlight, commented on the strategic investment, “Our immediate priority is accelerating research and development to drive innovation in our platform and deliver first-to-market features – always putting our customers one step ahead of the attackers. We look forward to expanding our product and development team and incorporating new AI capabilities that will help our customers respond to dark web threats faster. The cybercrime ecosystem does not sit still, so neither can we.”

D.A. Davidson & Company served as exclusive financial advisor to Searchlight.

About Searchlight Cyber
Searchlight Cyber delivers relevant and actionable dark web intelligence to help organizations prevent cybercriminal activity. Founded in 2017 with a mission to stop criminals acting with impunity on the dark web, using our comprehensive dataset based on proprietary techniques and ground-breaking academic research, we have been involved in some of the world’s largest dark web investigations. Today, governments, law enforcement agencies, and enterprises around the world use our dark web investigation and monitoring tools in their fight against criminal activity on the dark web. For more information, please visit

About Charlesbank Capital Partners
Based in Boston and New York, Charlesbank Capital Partners is a middle-market private investment firm with more than $15 billion of capital raised since inception. Charlesbank focuses on management-led buyouts and growth capital financings, as well as opportunistic credit and technology investments. The firm seeks to build companies with sustainable competitive advantage and excellent prospects for growth. For more information, please visit

About Astra Capital Management
Astra Capital is a Washington, DC-based, private equity firm that invests in growth businesses in the communications and technology services sectors. Astra targets highly scalable companies with proven business models that have positive free cash flow and significant growth potential. Post investment, Astra works closely with managers to drive value creation through strategic repositioning, revenue growth and operational enhancements. For more information, visit

Contacts for Searchlight Cyber:
Tom Duncan
Brands 2 Life

Contacts for Charlesbank Capital Partners:
Ryan FitzGibbon / Dan Ivers / Peter Gavaris
Prosek Partners