StartupYard is currently accepting applications for Batch 9. One of the key verticals we are focusing on during this round is Cybersecurity.
Prague, and StartupYard itself have a long history of security successes, which we’ll cover here.
In the past 4 years, StartupYard has accelerated a number of high-profile tech startups, which have gone on to have a big impact. These include enterprise mobile security firm TeskaLabs, secure storage and exchange platform Cryptelo, and most recently, the home network security provider Steel Mountain. We are looking forward to adding companies in the cybersecurity, cryptography, and blockchain in Batch 9. Applications close January 31st 2018.
There is no single more pressing issue than cybersecurity in the technology industry today. As big data proliferates, and AI takes over many tasks and systems formerly run by humans, our digital lives and businesses become less physically vulnerable, and more dependent on secure transfer, storage, and access to data and the devices that use it.
As StartupYard’s recent alum, Steel Mountain founder Will Butler put it on this blog: a digital attack on your home now has a greater potential danger than a physical one. These dangers are not only related to money or to privacy, but increasingly to basic safety as well.
The number of potential weak points in digital security continues to multiply daily, constantly increasing the rewards to those who would steal information and compromise networks.
For enterprises and governments, the story is much the same. Forbes magazine called 2017 The Year of CyberWarfare, and from attacks on democratic institutions to massive data breaches in enterprise systems, affecting billions of individuals, this has turned out to be true.
State actors and potential terrorists have also gotten into the game, with massive black-hat propaganda campaigns, targeted data thefts, DDOS, doxing, and more. This year saw organized cyberwarfare against Ukraine, and a possible state-sponsored attack on public and private utilities across Europe in the wannacry ransom attack.
As the number of threats to our data and our electronic systems has increased, a new wave of cybersecurity companies has risen to meet the challenge.
2017 was a record year for cybersecurity startup fundraising. The sector has grown from under $1bn in 2012 to over $5bn today, with a record 44 M&A deals occurring in the first quarter of 2017 alone.
You might think that in this kind of environment, a team with a cybersecurity product and a few brain cells between them could make it big. And in fact they could, if they were very, very good, and very, very lucky.
The reality is that even in a hot space, and sometimes even *especially* in a hot space, differentiating yourself and building a network that will sustain you and grow your business for years into the future is as hard as it ever was.
Growing a global business is hard, even when you’re selling something everyone needs. Especially when you’re selling security, which everyone needs, and no one wants to buy.
Note our emphasis on sustainability and the future. StartupYard believes strongly in building a sustainable global business for the future. The winners in cybersecurity will be those who started with a stable foundation, a network of mentors who know what they’re doing, and a set of investors ready to support them long term.
So here are the ways StartupYard can help a Cybersecurity Startup in 2018:
Trust and Reputation
You may know the old line about conservative business decision-making: “Nobody gets fired for buying IBM.” This is still very true. Security is all about trust and reputation. Big corporations with complex decision-making processes and complex needs have to work with companies they know.
After all, no one wants to “buy security.” They want to buy peace of mind – insurance against things they don’t want to think about.
The only way your technologies will end up being used at Microsoft, or IBM, or by a government or a bank, is if someone who already has that level of trust and comfort with those same customers helps you to enter the inner circle.
That is exactly what StartupYard’s mentor network is set up to do: give startups a ready-made relationship with trusted partners who can make those connections for them, and help them build trust faster than they could on their own.
Location and Community
StartupYard is at the heart of the Central European tech ecosystem, and our home city, Prague, is a hub for cybersecurity technology in Europe. World leading security companies such as Avast, Cognitive Security, and AVG were founded and grew right here, along with Eset in neighboring Slovakia. Their influence, knowledge, and reputations have made the Czech tech ecosystem particularly suitable for security companies looking for partners who understand the value of their work, and how to use it.
Not only is Prague an excellent place to develop a cybersecurity business, it’s also a great place to build your team, including engineering and sales. Czech security and cryptographic skills are among the highest in the world. The region is known for producing superior talents in security engineering, and knowledge of sales in this field is particularly strong.
StartupYard has a deep web of connections to this industry, that growing companies can leverage right away to grow and position themselves for success.
Experience and Knowledge
All of which would be meaningless, if StartupYard were not the home of more than one high-profile cybersecurity startup.
Our track record includes companies such as TeskaLabs, the first Czech company ever to attend TechStars, and now a profitable and growing company with major enterprise clients such as O2 and Cisco. We also have Cryptelo, which boasts a world-leading standard in cryptology, with secure storage and transmission of data.
And there’s Steel Mountain, our latest investment in the field, focusing on consumer digital security, who have recently signed agreements with a major manufacturer to build their breakthrough home network security solution for families.
These companies contribute to our team’s experience in cybersecurity, but they also act as mentors and support mechanisms for future startups in the StartupYard program. They bring a network of mentors, investors, and advisors with a proven track record of getting results for growing companies in the field.
Should my Cybersecurity Startup Apply to StartupYard?
Are you an early stage company, with a unique approach to a serious security issue, that would benefit from a deep network of mentors and advisors with long experience in cybersecurity?
Are you two or more founders, who know the value of an accelerator, and are looking to build a global, sustainable business, serving clients potentially all over the world? Do you believe in what you do? Do you think you can convince others that you’re right?
Does your work have the potential to impact the lives of many people in a positive way?
If so then yes, you should apply.
Get started applying to StartupYard Batch 9. Applications close January 31st, 2018.