Cyber startups hit the world stage

James Riley
Editorial Director

Australian cybersecurity startups Cydarm and SecureStack have been named as finalists of the RSA Conference (RSAC) Asia Pacific and Japan Launch Pad.

The companies will head to Singapore in mid-July to pitch their cybersecurity ideas in a Shark Tank-style format to a panel of two venture capitalists and a chief information security officer about why their products have a strong potential for success.

Both Cydarm and SecureStack are graduates of CyRise, an early stage accelerator for cybersecurity founders formed in partnership with Deakin University and Dimension Data.

Bound for RSA: Securestack founders Paul McCarty and Guy Givoni

CyRise chief executive Scott Handsaker said given that two of the three finalists selected for the RSA opportunity were Australian companies reflected the growing strength of the local cyber scene.

“It’s a tremendous signal that there is great talent in cybersecurity in Australia. It’s a tremendous signal that there is growth in the market , and that we’re heading in the right direction in trying to produce cyber security companies from Australia,” he said.

SecureStack co-founder and chief technology officer Paul McCarty agreed that it sends a message that Australia’s cyber startup sector is “vibrant.”

“We don’t necessarily get the same lens that American or Israeli companies get, but things here are vibrant and we’re showing that,” he said.

Being selected as a finalist in the RSAC Launch Pad comes off the back of SecureStack receiving $94,000 from the Queensland government under the Ignite Ideas Fund.

Mr McCarty said such financial initiatives from government can be significant but not when there is government procurement red tape.

“There’s lots of money from government, which is amazing. Americans do not have same funds available for startups [from government]. I know, because I was there from 2016. It’s pretty amazing the state and federal government is willing to spend money on that. That’s very unique and we can see where our tax dollars are going.

“But while government is giving grant funding, they can’t buy from startups. Their procurement process precludes them from buying from startups, so I have to go through a channel partner, which is [not ideal].

“But if we’re committed [as a nation] to innovating, which we say we are, then we need to man up at both corporate and federal level and allow them to make purchases from companies like us. If we can’t sell to them, it’s a significant part of the market, and we wonder so many move overseas.”

Cydarm Technologies co-founder and chief executive Vaughan Shanks said being a finalist of the RSA Launch Pad will be an opportunity for the company to showcase their technology, which has been designed to help organisations implement best practice within their incident response capabilities.

“We are delighted to be finalists in the launch pad competition at RSA conference Singapore. The RSA conference is a major event on the cybersecurity calendar, and we are keen to showcase our platform and present Australian innovation to the Southeast Asian market,” he said.

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