Cybersecurity is more important than ever. The recently discovered hack on the U.S. government that went undetected for 9 months exposed how far behind the country is in keeping up with cybersecurity threats. Tampa Bay Wave, a nonprofit startup accelerator out of central Florida, recently unveiled its CyberTech|X Accelerator cohort of 15 cybersecurity technology companies at the forefront of battling online attacks. The virtual, 90-day program offers mentorship, access to investor networks, sales and pitch coaching, and more to cohort companies. The Wave’s Demo Day will take place on April 23rd, in front of an audience of prominent investors and tech industry experts.
Richard Munassi, Director of Accelerator Cohorts, says of the new program, “a focus on cybersecurity now is the normal in the covid era.” Many businesses had to learn that the hard way after the pandemic forced many to move completely online, and hackers targeted their accounts.
The FBI’s Cyber Division has received a 400% increase in attack complaints from pre-covid numbers. A few weeks ago hackers almost poisoned residents of Oldsmar, Florida by increasing the amount of lye in the water supply. Thankfully, an administrator caught the issue and reduced the levels back to normal.
The program was created in part using $100,000 in funds donated from ConnectWise founder Arnie Bellini and his wife, through their Bellini Better World Foundation. Other key sponsors include A-LIGN, EY, and KnowBe4, all well-established cybersecurity tech giants working on issues ranging from regulatory compliance and consulting to education. Other partners include big names in tech and cybersecurity, including Jabil, Bank of America, Cyber Florida, Raymond James, SYKES Enterprises, and others. Linda Olson, President of Tampa Bay Wave says that some of the startups that applied to the program were impressed with the partnerships and saw the potential to tap their networks as a major opportunity.
Olson says of the CyberTech|X Accelerator program, “This is what building an ecosystem should look like. When you can leverage the resources in the region, bring real business opportunities together for the community as a whole, it can be transformational for a region.” She was inspired to start the program by Scott Price, CEO of A-LIGN, a Tampa-based cybersecurity giant, and Arnie Bellini, founder of ConnectWise. Both men are passionate about Tampa Bay and want to build its reputation as a technology and innovation hub, views that align closely with Tampa Bay Wave’s mission.
After seeing their successes in maximizing national recruiting through their TechDiversity Accelerator program and learning about the thousands of unfilled cybersecurity jobs, Wave’s team decided to leverage the programming they had put together for other successful programs and work towards attracting more startup talent in the cybersecurity industry to Tampa Bay. As home to MacDill Air Force Base (Central Command and Special Operations Command) and numerous cybersecurity giants like ReliaQuest and A-LIGN, Tampa Bay Wave wants the region to be known for its top quality cybersecurity talent.
The cohort ranges in stages of development, with some in their nascence, and others having raised multiple millions in investment funds. Tampa Bay Wave’s investor network has proved invaluable to a variety of companies in its many accelerators, all of which are centered on a “founders first” mentality.
The fifteen companies participating in the 2021 CyberTech|X Accelerator cohort include:
Arcanum Technology uses patented, knowledge-based authentication technology that allows users to create a 4 character password that never has to be changed, regardless of a data breach.
CEO: Brian Finnan
Location: Athens, GA
Arch Access delivers simple cybersecurity and supply chain risk management within a marketplace of resources needed to achieve compliance.
CEO: Martin Shepard
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Castle One offers a practical cybersecurity suite for startups that protects devices, emails, and passwords for a simple monthly fee.
CEO: Noon Eggenberger
Location: Madison, WI
Cervais, Inc. develops products designed to provide endpoint protection to Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
CEO: James Austin
Location: Ashburn, VA
Elroi provides consumers with data visualization and a centralized location to exercise their privacy rights and helps companies meet compliance requirements through a data ecosystem.
CEO: Rachel Cash
Location: Detroit, MI
EveryKey is the world’s first universal smart key that wirelessly unlocks your phone, computer, tablet, door, car, and more, and automatically logs you into your online accounts when you’re nearby, then locks everything down when you walk away.
CEO: Chris Wentz
Location: Cleveland, OH
Foretrace assesses the exposure of your infrastructure, third-party vendors, and clients with the Foretrace platform, using the same tools and techniques as cyber adversaries.
CEO: Nicholas Ascoli
Location: Woodbine, MD
Gridlock uses multi-party computations (MPC) to secure cryptocurrencies and other high-value digital assets. We protect what matters from both attackers and mistakes by eliminating any single point of failure. It’s professional asset management that keeps owners in full control.
CEO: Derek Rodriguez
Location: London, UK
Hook Security Inc
Hook Security trains people to recognize technology-based manipulation through the latest in psychological security training techniques.
CEO: Zachary Eikenberry
Location: Greenville, SC
Outpost Security modernizes security alerting for Fortune 500 companies, reducing alert fatigue, freeing up time and resources, and enabling security defenses to mature rapidly to meet the dynamic challenges of the constantly evolving internal and external threat landscape.
CEO: Will Robus
Location: Madison, WI
Phylum, Inc is creating the next generation of software supply chain security products – providing fully automated risk analysis of software dependencies.
CEO: Aaron Bray
Location: Evergreen, CO
Refactr is a low-code DevSecOps automation platform for everyone. Refactr’s mission is to empower Developers, Security, and Operations to collaboratively operate at the speed of DevOps.
CEO: Michael Fraser
Location: Seattle, WA
SmarterD automates building and managing a Cybersecurity Program through our Next-Gen Cybersecurity Program Management and Analytics Platform.
CEO: Vijay Sundhar
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Tauruseer is an integrated risk management platform that provides leadership visibility and control into the risk performance of their IT workforce. In a single place, enable continuous security, governance, and compliance throughout the DevOps lifecycle.
CEO: Jeremy Vaughan
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Tenacious’ CySkor® technology gives employers a private, third-party solution they can provide as a benefit to their employees, thereby reducing corporate cyber risk and securing personal devices and other employee-owned endpoints in an ethical and legal manner.
CEO: Andrew Adams
Location: Tampa, FL