Victorian Government invests in startups looking to strengthen the state’s cyber security

Scott Handsaker, CyRise CEO

Telstra’s 2017 Cyber Security Report found that 59 per cent of Australian organisations have detected a business interrupting breach on at least a monthly basis. And it has been estimated that ransomware costs the Australian economy between $A1-3 billion every year.

Which is why Melbourne has been positioned to be the hub of cyber security startups through a Victorian Government funded program, to assist new businesses develop solutions to this problem.

Dimension Data and Victoria’s Deakin University have partnered to open a cyber security incubator called CyRise, which will have a regional focus. This partnership was aided by a A$450,000 grant from LaunchVic, the Victorian Government’s startup agency.

Dimension Data Australia services director Duncan Brown said it will enable the state to build and nurture local startups to tackle cyber security.

“Dimension Data and our partner Deakin University will now prioritise activities and identify opportunities,” he said.

“Our intention is that, by establishing the incubator, we will be able to drive more locally-developed cyber security tools, programs and methodologies that can be taken to market locally and globally.”

CyRise will officially commence from September 2017, with early stage cyber security entrepreneurs and industry professionals able to apply to be part of it now.

A history of cyber security success in Victoria

In the lead up to this announcement, the Victorian Government has assisted in establishing the state as Australia’s leader in cyber security solutions. This began in the early 2000s when the Internet Commerce Security Laboratory was established at Federation University Australia.

Some of the additional initiatives supported by Victorian Government include:

  • Setting up the Oceania Cyber Security Centre in Melbourne.
  • Leveraging the National Broadband Network to bring cyber jobs to Victoria.
  • Forging a partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia in the US, one of the world’s foremost authorities on cyber security; and
  • Successfully working with leading global security firm Cyberinc to open its first Australian headquarters in Melbourne.

Giving startups the tools they need for success

LaunchVic is the Victorian Government’s startup agency backed by $60 million of funding.

LaunchVic Chief Executive Officer Dr Kate Cornick said the startup agency’s role was to ensure the right infrastructure was in place across the state to ensure startups have the tools they need to grow and succeed.

“It’s an exciting time for Victoria and for startups,” she said. “We’ve got a strong grassroots community and increasingly more people who want to be in control of their own destiny, run their own show and work in a startup.

“But establishing a startup is also very hard work often filled with lots of doubt, setbacks and inexperience, which we recognise and are moving to support through our core role—to fuel a startup state in Victoria.

“LaunchVic’s support of CyRise will see local cyber startups get the support and ‘know-how’ they require to be able to take their products to market and scaleup.

‘Ultimately successful startups that scale up and become liquid are what will underpin our future economy.”

CyRise is partnering for success

Cyrise is open to startups from Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region. Participants will receive A$50,000 in capital (as part of a capped Simple Agreement for Future Equity note), mentoring, accommodation at the Teamsquare co-working space in Melbourne’s CBD and introductions to potential early customers.

Additionally, all participants will get access to a structured trip, organised by CyRise, to Israel and the USA in 2018.

This will help them improve their knowledge of the wider cyber security landscape and grow their connections, along with an opportunity to pitch to potential investors for further funding.

“Victoria is fast becoming known as the best location in APAC for the cyber security industry,” said CyRise CEO Scott Handsaker. “Where Australia is lacking in this space is in the commercialisation of ideas.

“We want to help connect Australian corporates with innovative local founders who are building world class cyber security solutions.

“Our ability to open corporate doors for our startups will help them grow globally, while allowing corporate Australia a rare inside look at the best cyber security solutions this country has to offer.

“Our startups will get access to Deakin University’s field-leading researchers and Dimension Data’s commercial experience, while being able to take advantage of this one-of-a-kind partnership to successfully take their ideas to a global market.”