Kaspersky Lab today announced a brand-new global initiative designed to identify and nurture new talent for the security industry. The Security Startup Challenge (SSC) is a mentor-driven acceleration program developed and implemented by the Kaspersky Academy, in partnership with venture industry leaders, Mangrove Capital Partners and the ABRT Venture Fund. SSC will provide startups with access to cutting-edge business, cybersecurity and cross-industry expertise from around the world.
Cyberthreats have become a global problem and their number and sophistication continues to evolve significantly. Kaspersky Lab currently detects 325,000 new malicious files every day. Last year, the company’s products detected and neutralized a total of 6,167,233,068 threats1. In line with its mission to save the world, Kaspersky Lab is determined to detect and neutralize all forms of malicious programs and believes that building awareness, encouraging dialogue and running educational programs are all essential steps towards international collaboration in the fight against cybercrime.
Eugene Kaspersky, chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, says: “As the cyberthreat landscape becomes more and more dangerous, the world needs new ideas, new concepts and new approaches to cybersecurity. As a result, there’s been a significant increase in venture funding of early-stage startups in the industry. Young entrepreneurs today have an excellent chance to build a truly successful company. Technology startups have been massive wealth-generators for their owners and for society as a whole over the last few decades. Our company was a startup not that long ago, and I can confirm that it feels great to fight the bad guys and build your own business from scratch while doing so.”
Running from March to August, the Security Startup Challenge 2015 will comprise a preliminary series of two-day workshops, in Jerusalem, Berlin, San Francisco, Singapore and Moscow. This will be followed a three-month acceleration program which will include distance team work and two bootcamps in Luxembourg, culminating in a grand finale event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA).
Online registration for the workshops and the main program is now open at www.SSC2015.org. The closing date for application is 28 April 2015. A special committee will conduct the selection process, identifying the individuals and teams with the most promising, innovative or exciting proposals. In all, 40 places are available at SSC 2015, offering founders of startup projects in cybersecurity and related areas, such as fintech, healthcare, mobile, the Internet of Things, and the Cloud, a chance to build their knowledge and compete for an $80K prize fund and post-program support.
Under the guidance of more than 30 experts, participants will gain a deeper knowledge of the cybersecurity industry, extend their business and startup skills, and learn how to harness the two areas to build a successful business. The program offers access to cybersecurity professionals, venture capitalists and seasoned entrepreneurs to help new businesses create a global professional network. While attendance at the workshops is optional and not essential in order to apply for the main program, they will provide participants with an additional advantage in terms of enhanced knowledge and skills.
“Technology megatrends such as mobile, cloud computing and the Internet of Things are leaving consumers increasingly, and unwittingly, exposed to cybercrooks. Perhaps more worrying is the fact that criminal syndicates operating on the Internet are as scalable as any other Internet-enabled business,” comments Michael Jackson, partner at Mangrove Capital Partners. “We need to innovate our approach to cybersecurity to meet the demands of this new hyper-connected world. This accelerator, the first of its kind, will bring together cybersecurity startups from all over the world and ensure that those which hold the most promise receive all the help and support they need to grow at internet speed.”
“Both consumers and businesses stand to benefit from innovation in cybersecurity. We believe that a collaboration of strong industry leaders with years of expertise and competence between them, can help talented entrepreneurs to achieve such innovation, and succeed in their goal to make technology products and IT infrastructure more secure. We are pleased to be joining Kaspersky Lab in its initiative to build a platform for such collaboration,” says Andrew Gershfeld, Chief Investment Officer at ABRT Venture Fund.