As cybersecurity threats proliferate and adversaries grow ever more nefarious, it falls on the shoulders of innovators and entrepreneurs to design solutions that can stop them. Fortunately, there are many smart, inventive and passionate individuals who are rising to the challenge and building companies dedicated to leading enterprises globally to a more secure future. And investors are paying close attention too.
Consider that more than 1,200 cybersecurity companies in North America alone have received VC funding since 2010, according to PitchBook data. And that VC investments hit record highs last year with more than $5.3 billion funneled into cybersecurity startups – up 20 percent from 2017 and almost double what the sector saw in 2016.
In recognition of mounting problems and in honor of the entrepreneurs committed to addressing them, RSA Conference has established RSAC Launch Pad, a new ‘Shark Tank’-like event aimed at raising awareness about the most promising cybersecurity solutions and equipping the industry’s boldest and brightest thinkers to turn their ideas into full-scale, influential cybersecurity businesses.
I’m thrilled to be one of the ‘sharks’ (aka venture investors) serving on a pitch panel alongside good friends and cybersecurity veterans, Ted Schlein and Theresia Gouw.
Many of you are likely familiar with RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest, an industry-leading program that highlights bold innovations in information security. Whereas the Innovation Sandbox Contest, five-years in the running, focuses on later-stage startups with a product in market and some revenue, our inaugural RSAC Launch Pad is looking for young product ideas and companies without revenue that are on the verge of going to market. The goal is to create a platform at the RSA Conference that supports entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of innovation by offering feedback and guidance on how to bring those ideas to life through viable companies with potential for scale.
In these final few weeks leading up to the RSA Conference, we are diligently reviewing hundreds of startup submissions from all over the world to identify three companies that we believe can effectively solve the world’s most pressing cybersecurity challenges. With compelling entries coming from all corners of the globe – from India and South Korea to the United Kingdom and Australia – three things are clear: 1) the cybersecurity industry has greatly matured; 2) threats today are growing and global, but awareness is rising too; and 3) talent in this space is as deep as it is broad.
For new and seasoned founders, we believe RSAC Launch Pad provides an incredible opportunity to get exposure in front of the largest audience in information security in the world. The event is going to be incredibly fun, but more importantly productive and informative for participants and audience members alike. No heckling or negatively challenging any of the presenters. Ted, Theresa and I see this as a chance to use our knowledge and experience to highlight the creative and important efforts from innovators around the globe to help solve the challenges we face today.
We would be delighted if you could join us for the first-ever contest – Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 4:00PM in the Marriott Marquis.