Sapien Cyber is very much a tale of what can happen when the right people and right ideas come together at the right time. That’s according to Sapien Cyber chief executive officer Rochelle Fleming, who said the company – which provides cybersecurity and threat intelligence solutions for the protection of critical infrastructure – was born from a research paper from Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) Security Research Institute.
“A chance meeting led to others seeing the great commercial potential and unmet market need for solutions that Sapien now provides, and with that came an initial tranche of seed funding and our path was set,” Ms Fleming said.
“Today, we’ve developed a purpose-built suite of solutions specifically focussed on keeping the operational technology (OT) systems that underpin the safe, secure, ongoing operations of our critical infrastructure and essential services safe from cyber threats.”
The Perth-based company – which has been named as a finalist in the CyberSecurity category of the 2022 InnovationAus Awards for Excellence – aims to be the first call for cybersecurity for critical infrastructure. Its cornerstone customers and partners include Woodside and Honeywell.
Sapien’s goal – through a crew of academics and industry-experienced practitioners – is to enable businesses to effectively prepare and defend infrastructure against cyber incursions that impact business continuity, reputation, and financial loss.
“We’ve built an amazing team who bring a wealth of industry and research experience that have allowed us to continue to challenge the status quo in cybersecurity and evolve faster than the speed of threats,” Ms Fleming said.
Its cyber solutions – including Sapien Condor, Raptor, Insight and Wingspan – provide complete visibility of an organisation’s cyber risk exposure, attack surface and any suspicious activity within operational technology networks.
For Ms Fleming, protecting critical infrastructure is a nationally significance pursuit. Threats to essential services across Australia and the globe are constant and growing in number and sophistication.
Without the appropriate cyber security in place across Australia’s critical infrastructure, she suggested the essential services of a nation could be compromised including: clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; industry innovation and infrastructure; and quality education.
“Once I understood how vulnerable the systems responsible for the services – like safe drinking water that we take for granted everyday are to cyber threats – I knew I wanted to be part of the solution,” she said.
“I’ve been lucky to be here from the very beginning and live through every stage of Sapien’s growth and I’m looking forward to the next stage in our journey.”
Asked what’s next, Ms Fleming said the company is currently running a pre-series A funding round.
“We expect this to close out prior to Christmas and this will help us to rapidly expand in both Australia and the US and build capacity to start to explore other markets such as the UK, Europe and Asia.
“Importantly, it will also provide funds to invest in the continual development of our solutions. Cyber threats are constantly changing and growing and we need to stay ahead of the cyber criminals and so innovation is a part of our everyday thinking.”
Ms Fleming said cybersecurity is an extremely competitive sector; but the fact the company focuses on OT means it reduces the playing field to be primarily addressing organisations considered as critical infrastructure, including ones of national significance or that national security depends upon including defence, resources, power.
“Additionally, the passing of the Critical Infrastructure Bill, SOCI, Biden’s executive order on cybersecurity, the AUKUS pact and Europe’s changes on cybersecurity laws mean many players have entered the market to support demand,” she explained.
As such, the company has performed an analysis and determined there’s low product overlap and large market overlap – and partnering is an option too.
“Growth is the key driver – geographic, product development, sales, and brand. We’re currently doing a pre-series A capital raise and expect the series A raise to also be within the next two years.
“Rapid scale will be through a combined GTM strategy of resellers, distributors and direct access across Australia and the US.”
Certainly, for Ms Fleming, there’s no greater mission than protecting the infrastructure that run the oil rigs, the electricity grids, the airports, defence systems, and water; and also helping businesses prepare and defend their infrastructure.
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