Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was in Herndon Thursday for a tour with industry and university cybersecurity leaders for the opening of the Mach37 Cyber Accelerator, a firm that will work to guide fledgling cyber companies into successful companies and help them secure investor funding.
McDonnell also officially announced the first batch of cyber security and defense companies that the accelerator will be working with. Mach37 has said it will invite eight to 10 companies a year for 90-day "accelerator" sessions, at the end of which they will make presentations to potential investors.
Supported by McDonnell, the General Assembly appropriated $2.5 million to Herndon's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) to start and operate Mach37 for two years, after which Mach37 will secure private funding.
During the grand opening, McDonnell also announced a new partnership between CIT and Virginia Tech to deploy a cyber test range to facilitate the testing and development of new cybersecurity products from Mach37 portfolio companies, as well as support Virginia Tech research and education activities.
McDonnell said, “As part of our economic development agenda, we are working to bring greater investment into the rapidly growing technology industries such as cyber security, as well as encourage companies and investors to look to Virginia."
"The Mach37 Cyber Accelerator will increase our public-private cybersecurity assets in Virginia," he continued. "This program works by leveraging our resources to accelerate new ideas and products that launch new cybersecurity companies in Virginia."
Regarding the $2.5 million in funding the commonwealth gave CIT to help Mach37 get started, McDonnell said, "I appreciate the support of Speaker of the House Bill Howell, Delegate Tag Greason, Senator Ryan McDougle, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, Northern Virginia Technology Council President Bobbie Kilberg and Vice-President Josh Levi for the creation of Mach37 Cyber Accelerator in the 2013 General Assembly session. It was truly a collaborative engagement of industry and government leaders working together to create an opportunity that will drive innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the commonwealth and make Virginia the trusted leader in developing cybersecurity solutions."
According to McDonnell's office, the Mach37 Cyber Accelerator is modeled after existing accelerators such as the Y Combinator, TechStars and 500 Startups, but specializes in launching cybersecurity startup companies, specifically.
The program consists of two 90-day sessions per year.
"Participants receive an initial company investment from the CIT GAP Fund upon acceptance to the program, and at the end, companies make 'Demo Day' presentations to professional investors," McDonnell's office said in a statement. "If they are successful, they receive a second investment from the CIT GAP Fund and private investors."
In addition to establishing a cyber focus, Mach37 offers "a highly integrated network of hundreds of cybersecurity experts to help emerging startups."
Jim Duffey, Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, said, “This sophisticated network of cyber experts, technologists and investors is crucial to the accelerator’s ability to reduce startup development time. The network is a valuable resource that stays with entrepreneurs from the beginning of the program through the early years of development.”
Rick Gordon, a leader in the cybersecurity industry, was hired in July as the managing partner of Mach37. He is joined by general partner Dan Wooley, who comes from Dell, and associate partner Ledger West.
Virginia Tech President Charles Steger was also on hand at the grand opening and spoke about the new partnership between CIT and the university.
"The research programs at the Hume Center and the Mach37 Cyber Accelerator provide the perfect intersection for commercializing research and advancing new technology companies," he said. "This partnership delivers significant value to early-stage companies that require testing resources and to cyber students engaged in learning the next generation of cyber technology.”
Gov. McDonnell announced the following companies as Mach37's first batch of 'cohort companies':
- Cypherpath - CEO Kevin Rogers, Herndon, Va. – "Cypherpath brings a new generation of services built around their virtual cyber test range and virtual cloud, which provides teams with the ability to create, modify, view and control virtualized environments independently and collaboratively. This new generation of technology increases the ability of Chief Information Security Officers to train, exercise, test, model and simulate through on demand replication of cyber infrastructure. Cypherpath provides the only on-demand platform for realistic cyber-experiences."
- Key Cybersecurity, Inc. - CEO Shawn R. Key, Dumfries, Va. – "Key Cybersecurity brings over 60 years of combined strategic thought leadership in cyber forensics to the ever-expanding security threat market. CyberMerlin, Key’s flagship product, employs algorithms and forensics investigative technologies that patrol enterprise environments and report abusive behavior, providing a proactive system that enhances network security."
- Pierce Global Threat Intelligence - CEO Roy Stephan, Dunn Loring, Va. – "Pierce creates tailored and automated threat analysis based on each company’s individual enterprise network, ecosystem traffic and flow data. The real-time, raw, previously expensive and cumbersome threat data is then filtered and prioritized based on the individual company ecosystem, giving companies the ability to react to threats with a greater level of confidence."
- CyberLingua - Acting CEO Jim Hunt, Tyson’s Corner, Va. – "CyberLingua uses technologies developed over decades in the U.S. intelligence community to identify zero-day threats before they can cause damage. Instead of manually tracking logs or anomalies, analysts will now be able to identify and synthesize patterns and weak signals in cyber-data and their associated combinations of risks underlying advanced persistent zero-day threats."
- Sikernes - CEO Ethan Allen, Bozeman, Mt. – "Silkernes provides a Cybersecurity Analytics Platform (CAP) for organizations to analyze and understand the effectiveness and efficacy of cybersecurity expenditures. Using predictive analytics, and leveraging Big Data, the Sikernes platform fills organizational gaps and gives organizations quantitative information to control security budget planning, security execution and resource allocation, thus promoting organizational transparency while maximizing security strategy ROI."
What do you think of the first batch of companies Mach37 is working with, and the new partnership with Virginia Tech? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.
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