Loudoun’s $400 Million Cybersecurity Success Story Rebrands and Expands Leesburg-Based Headquarters

Aaron Higbee, Co-Founder and CTO, Cofense™
Aaron Higbee, Co-Founder and CTO, Cofense™


Aaron Higbee and Rhoyt Belani used to teach Ultimate Hacking courses. In 2007 they started a company in Higbee’s house; this week they announced that their cybersecurity company Cofense, formerly known as PhishMe, has been acquired by a private equity consortium.

Cofense is the leading provider of human-driven phishing defense solutions worldwide. The company was valued by the consortium at $400 million.

Ahead of the announcement, the company completed a substantial office expansion, tripling their previous office size by moving into a newly renovated 35,000 square-foot space in the Village at Leesburg.

Higbee, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Cofense, recalls the early days before their company reached the global success they now enjoy.

Their first office was in a mixed-used commercial warehouse space.

“At the time, we didn’t mind the subterranean termites beneath us, or our friendly neighbors at the crematorium. We needed affordable office space but didn’t have a use for the warehouse space itself. We didn’t let it go to waste, though, and decided to install two swings from the ceiling. It was a great place to generate ideas and blow off some steam,” notes Higbee.

“As our business expanded we knew we couldn’t stay at that space forever, despite its industrial charm. Our next office was in a small medical mixed-use building in South Riding, before we eventually settled on the Village at Leesburg, the location of our previous office and now current HQ space.”

Higbee explains the swing set he is pictured on above.

“We wanted to incorporate elements of our corporate roots into our office spaces and office culture moving forward. We made sure that two swings were installed in one of our main recreational areas to serve as both a functional means for our employees to socialize and a hint of nostalgia at where we started this journey.”

Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer says, “The Cofense story is the type of Loudoun success journey we love to celebrate. Here’s a cybersecurity company that literally started in someone’s home, which now has thousands of customers in dozens of countries around the world.

“We congratulate Cofense on their phenomenal growth here in Loudoun County.”

“We very much enjoy being headquartered in Loudoun County,” Higbee says. “We’ve had amazing support from both the town of Leesburg and Loudoun County. Additionally, Loudoun County has a deep talent pool, many of which are looking for a better commute.

“As we celebrate the announcement of our exciting rebrand to Cofense and acquisition this week, we look forward to continuing our journey forward while calling Loudoun County our home base.”

Learn more about Cofense and the recent acquisition.