It’s a cyber startup’s wildest dream: An investment group led by InfoSec powerhouses is willing to supply pro bono services along with big cash infusions. As noted by SecurityWeek, that dream will become a reality in 2016 due to Strategic Cyber Ventures (SCV), which is already seeking innovators in the authentication, mobile and intrusion detection space. So, how do cybersecurity startups get their products on SCV’s radar?
Big Talent, Clear Lines
According to SecurityWeek, the new group is looking for companies with $5 million or more in revenue during the Series A and Series B financing stages. Chief Executive Officer Tom Kellerman — formerly the chief security officer of Trend Micro — also told the source “all of the companies we invest in will be synergistic and complementary to the other,” noting the organization will “very rarely” put money into companies in the exact same security space. Along with cash, services such as product road map advice, strategic partnerships, business development and regulatory compliance will all be part of the package.
A number of top-tier professionals are also joining the C-suite. In addition to Kellerman, the firm has locked down Hank Thomas, formerly of Booz Allen Hamilton, to act as their chief operating officer. According to Federal Computer Week, it also landed the departing head of U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, Ann Barron-DiCamillo, as its chief technology officer.
Barron-DiCamillo brings a host of experience from her three years on the front lines of public and private hacks. She noted that one area in need of a cybersecurity startup’s expertise is ad-based malware delivery, since “it’s difficult to find a product that helps with the content delivery of that right now in a way that’s scalable.”
Muddied Waters for Cybersecurity Startups?
As noted by Dark Reading, the InfoSec funding market is getting fast and furious, with a host of new companies securing capital to run with their latest and greatest ideas. The problem is that many of these offerings overlap, and unsurprisingly, the rush to push out the next game-changing security feature comes with serious pitfalls, most notably hype and potential hacking.
Down one road, expectations for new offerings far outstrip their function, leading to a host of marketing fluff backed by not enough substance. Down the other path, companies shove their products out the door intending to patch later and become the security problem they’re trying to prevent.
SCV’s role in all this is ideally tagging the winners early on and giving them the capital and consulting support they need to deliver on their promises and truly innovate in the security space. Right now, the group is targeting U.S. cybersecurity startups, though Kellerman said that it’s possible Israeli firms may also be on the radar in the next few years.
The bottom line is that there is massive interest in the InfoSec market right now, but not all startups are going the distance. Efforts such as these are hoping to leverage a combination of specialization, spending and value-added services to create a set of startup front-runners ready to change the security landscape.