Melbourne-based cybersecurity accelerator CyRise will celebrate its fifth anniversary this month with a demo day featuring startups from Australia, Singapore, India, and the United States.
It is the first live event held by the accelerator since 2019 and a crowd of up to 300 people is expected at Stone & Chalk in Melbourne on 18 May.
With half of the teams participating in this year’s accelerator program coming from Australia, CyRise chief executive Scott Handsaker said cybersecurity entrepreneurship is a growing sector in the country.
“We’re doing really well but it’s still early days for us, so we’re still pushing ahead. But I’d say we’re probably ahead of the rest of the Asia Pacific in terms of depth of the cybersecurity ecosystem,” Mr Handsaker said.
“Market opportunities remain fantastic in cybersecurity. It’s a vertical that is still going to be relevant and growing in 20 years’ time, which makes it an amazing sector to build a career in. Even though you might look at the market and think that it’s quite crowded, very rarely do you find a segment in cyber where the dominant player has say 30-40 per cent of the market share.”
The three Australian firms presenting at the demo day are AI auditing tool provider Decoded.AI, cloud management infrastructure StackQL, and Plerion, which has software that collects security alerts across an organisation to present security risks in simpler, more digestible terms. Also presenting are India-based Seconize, Singapore-based cysense and US-based Apolyta.
Jelix Ventures investment partner Ian Gardiner said he was excited for the upcoming demo day.
“We always watch the teams coming out of a CyRise demo day closely as we think cybersecurity is an important sector for Jelix to stay across. We invested in SafeStack, who went through CyRise cohort five and we have been really excited at the growth they have been able to achieve,” Mr Gardiner said.
Mr Handsaker urged government to take a long-term view on building a cybersecurity industry over the next 10 or 20 years. Although the federal government just set aside $10 billion to boost cyber capability at the Australian Signals Directorate, Mr Handsaker said there wasn’t enough focus on helping local startups grow.
He also highlighted the wealth of opportunity to deliver basic cybersecurity hygiene in the Asia Pacific as the region has not been targeted by multinational cybersecurity providers. He also said that future market opportunities will be around providing cybersecurity solutions to small businesses.
Each participating firm in the CyRise program received a $50,000 capped SAFE note, which gives the organisation the right to buy an agreed number of shares at a specified price. The CyRise portfolio is worth $170 million with a total of 37 firms having participated in its programs.
Given the diverse cast of teams on cohort six and that CyRise’s entrepreneur-in-residence Ron Moritz is based in Tel-Aviv, Israel, this year’s accelerator program was run entirely online. After an application process between August and December 2021, the accelerator program began in February this year. It provided access to 53 industry advisors and 43 mentors.
CyRise was founded in 2016 and is jointly-funded by technology and business solutions firm NTT and Deakin University. Before CyRise launched its first accelerator program in 2017, it also received $450,000 from the Victorian government’s startup ecosystem agency LaunchVic.
The demo day will feature live music, puzzle tables, lock picking, and trying to shoot drones out of the air with toy guns, along with networking opportunities. You can register here.
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