Security firm Kaspersky Lab officially announced a new initiative designed to support security startups and provide expertise and advice to foster much needed talent for the IT security industry.
Called the Security Startup Challenge (SSC) by the Moscow-based company, the initiative is a mentor-driven acceleration program developed and implemented by the Kaspersky Academy, in partnership with venture capital firms Mangrove Capital Partners and the ABRT Venture Fund.
The Security Startup Challenge will run from March to August and will comprise of a preliminary series of two-day workshops in Jerusalem, Berlin, San Francisco, Singapore and Moscow.
Following the workshops, a three-month acceleration program will take place, which will include distance teamwork and two “bootcamps” in Luxembourg.
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 a chance to build their knowledge and compete for an $80K prize pool and post-program support.
Kaspersky Lab experts will make themselves available to help participants 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 company said.
Seven teams will pitch their startups at a Grand Final at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass. to a panel including VCs and media representatives in late August.
Entrepreneurs are not required to attend the workshops in order to apply for the main program, Kaspersky said.
“As the cyberthreat landscape becomes more and more dangerous, the world needs new ideas, new concepts and new approaches to cybersecurity,” said Eugene Kaspersky, chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, the largest privately held endpoint security vendor in the world.
“Young entrepreneurs today have an excellent chance to build a truly successful company,” he added. “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.”
Online registration for the workshops and the main program is currently open, but applications must be submitted by April 28, 2015.