Lookout (company)

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Industry Computer software, Security software, Mobile Security
Founded December 21, 2009; 7 years ago (2009-12-21) (as Flexilis)
United States
Founder John Hering, Kevin Mahaffey, and James Burgess
Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.
Key people
John Hering (Co-founder and Executive Chairman)
Jim Dolce (CEO)
Products Lookout Mobile Security
Website www.lookout.com

Lookout (previously known as Flexilis) is a San Francisco-based mobile security company.[1] It provides security to both private and business mobile devices.

Company overview[edit]

Lookout is a mobile security firm started by graduates of the University of Southern California. The original name of the company was Flexilis. In 2005, the firm showed the vulnerabilities of smartphones to hacking via Bluetooth, in addition to other problems in mobile security. In 2009 Khosla Ventures provided $5.5 million in funding to the company as it began developing mobile security software. The programs were initially tested on Android and Windows devices, before expanding to Blackberry and iPhone devices. The software was intended to protect mobile devices from malicious programs, as well as allowing users to back up and delete data from their devices. The co-founders of Flexilis and Lookout are John Hering, who serves as Lookout's executive chairman, James Burgess, and Kevin Mahaffey.[1] The principal research analyst for the company until 2014 was Marc Rogers.[2] Jim Dolce serves as the company's CEO.[3]

Lookout was in use by about ten million devices within a year and a half after its official launch in 2009.[4] As of late 2013, the company had raised $131 million in venture capital and was valued at about $1 billion.[5] Previous investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Accel Partners, Deutsche Telekom, and Index Ventures.[6][7] Its security software had about 45 million users as of October 2013.[8] This was about three times the downloads of other companies producing mobile security software and included pre-loads from telecom carriers like Sprint, Orange Mobile, and T-Mobile.[9]

In August 2014 the company raised $150 million[10] in series F financing. This brought the total of financing the firm has received to $280 million.[11] In October the company signed a partnership agreement with KDDI in Japan.[12] In November of that year they hired Aaron Cockerill as VP of Enterprise Product and David Helfer as VP of Worldwide Channel Development.[13] That month the company released the first evidence of malware and spam in Android smart phones, encountering the NotCompatible malicious software in 2012, and showed that at least four million mobile users may have encountered it since.[14] In 2014 the company was also the first to detect the MalApp.D, a VoIP software-based malware.[15]


The firm produces mobile security apps for iOS and Android devices. The free edition is upgradeable to a premium version which includes a phishing and malicious website blocker, privacy advisor, photo and call history backup, device-to-device data transfer, remote locking and wiping, and support services.[16] The software also includes the ability to remotely snap a photograph of the phone's environment when lost or stolen, which can help to identify the thief or location of the device.[17] In June 2014 the company released an app that produces real-time theft alerts, including a "theftie"--photograph of the thief taken automatically by the device--when certain actions are taken, such as a mistyped phone code.[18] The software bundle also comes with a utility called "signal flare", which automatically flags the location of a phone once the battery starts to die, so that the device user can later ping its last known location.[19]

In 2013 AT&T partnered with Lookout to bundle its security apps with all of its mobile devices and tablets, and to take a portion of the profit from any premium upgrade purchased by its customers.[20] In 2014 the firm released its "privacy toolkit" software program, which adapts legal documents into short-form privacy policies for website users and app developers, by walking a developer or lawyer through a series of questions that help them shorten and simplify their privacy policies.[21] The firm also produces surveys and studies of mobile security issues, including annual "encounter rates" of mobile devices with malware, and the rise of chargeware on mobile devices.[22] In July 2013, they determined a security flaw in Google Glass, for example, that could allow hackers to defraud wearers of the device through the insertion of malicious code.[23] That year it also estimated that about one million Android devices had encountered problems with adware.[24] This included the BadNews malware found in Google apps, which Lookout discovered and developed support for in spring 2013.[25]

The Wall Street Journal has described the cloud software as combining "[M]achine learning and contextual analytics to protect mobile devices from malicious applications .... The software, which uses machine intelligence technology, analyzes an app’s executable code, the IP address the device is accessing and several other traits to verify the software’s integrity. Each app on the device is cross checked with millions of data points Lookout has culled from more than six million mobile apps running on 50 million devices. Carriers preinstalled a consumer version, called Lookout Mobile Security, on smartphones sold to consumers."[15]


Lookout was noted in CNET's favorite Android Apps by CNET blogger Scott Webster in July 2011.[26] CNET readers selected Lookout as their number three favorite Android app.[27] In September 2011, the firm was listed in VentureWire's 2011 FASTech 50: Most Innovative Technology Startups.[28] PC Magazine also gave it an Editor's Choice award.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Brad Stone (December 21, 2009). "Security firms see a mobile opportunity ; As they grow in power and importance, phones are vulnerable to attacks". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ Mark Ward (January 8, 2014). "CES 2014: Connected tech raises privacy fears". BBC. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ http://www.cnbc.com/id/101492383
  4. ^ Austin Carr (July 22, 2011). "Lookout Security: An Antivirus Company That Wins Without Scaring Your Grandma". Fast Company. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ Nicole Perlroth (October 13, 2013). "Bolstering a Phone’s Defenses Against Breaches". New York Times. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/21/andreessen-horowitz-leads-40m-round-in-smartphone-security-company-lookout/
  7. ^ http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/10/mobile-security-app-lookout-takes-another-55m-led-by-deutsche-telekom-to-expand-in-europe-enterprise/
  8. ^ JP Mangalinden (October 10, 2013). "A hacker who helps". Fortune. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ Andy Greenberg (February 13, 2013). "Lookout Conquered The Consumer Mobile Security Industry--Now It Just Has To Prove One Exists". Forbes. 
  10. ^ http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/08/13/big-funds-bet-150-million-on-mobile-security-startup-lookout/
  11. ^ http://fortune.com/2014/08/13/lookout-a-mobile-security-software-company-raises-150-million/
  12. ^ http://www.telecompaper.com/news/lookout-kddi-deliver-device-security-services-for-au-users--1041088
  13. ^ http://www.forbes.com/sites/benkepes/2014/11/14/lookout-hires-up-to-ramp-up-its-mobile-security-solution/
  14. ^ http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/malicious-software-said-to-spread-on-android-phones/?_r=1
  15. ^ a b Clint Boulton (November 13, 2014). "Cybersecurity Startup Reviews ‘App’s DNA’ to Help CIOs Identify Mobile Malware". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 2, 2015. 
  16. ^ Lookout Inc. "Get More With Lookout Premium for Android". Lookout Inc. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  17. ^ Brian X. Chen (April 4, 2013). "How to Shield Yourself From Smartphone Snoops". New York Times. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  18. ^ Geoffrey Fowler (May 28, 2014). "To Catch a Phone Thief Take a Theftie". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  19. ^ Samantha Murphy Kelly (October 9, 2012). "New Lookout App Finds Your Phone Even When Battery Is Dead". Mashable. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  20. ^ Adario Strange (November 9, 2013). "AT&T to Bundle Lookout Security App on All Android Devices". Mashable. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  21. ^ Kate Tummarello (March 14, 2014). "Apps Look to Simplify Privacy Notices". The Hill. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  22. ^ Stuart Dredge (February 21, 2014). "The war against mobile 'adware' isn't over yet, warns Lookout". The Guardian. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  23. ^ Emir Afrati (July 17, 2013). "Security Firm Points to Flaw in Google Glass". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  24. ^ Salvador Rodriguez (June 26, 2013). "Lookout security app to flag adware on Android". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  25. ^ Tom Gara (April 19, 2013). "A New Kind of Virus for the Mobile Age". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  26. ^ Kent German (22 July 2011). "CNET's favorite Android apps (CNET 100)". CNET. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  27. ^ Kent German (26 July 2011). "Winners of the CNET 100: Your top 10 Android apps". CNET. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  28. ^ Scott Austin (7 September 2011). "Unveiling VentureWire’s FASTech 50: Most Innovative Start-Ups". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  29. ^ "Lookout" for Android, PC Magazine

External links[edit]