DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summit Round Up

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Ola Sage, CEO for e-Management, talks about the challenges of fundraising for startups in the DC region at the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summit. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)Cyber leaders from the business and investment industries joined Air Force officials on Dec. 7 in Arlington, Va., to discuss the evolving cybersecurity ecosystem in the greater Washington region at the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summit hosted by TandemNSI.

The panelists for the event — Camron Gorguinpour, director of the U.S. Air Force Transformational Innovation office; Ola Sage, CEO of e-Management, Kevin DeSanto; Managing Director and Co-Founder of KippsDeSanto & Co.; Yonald Chery, CTO of The Datatribe; and Chuck Brooks, Vice President, Government Relations & Marketing of Sutherland Global Services — covered a wide range of issues on areas where the ecosystem can get better and where it is excelling.

The panel of speakers for the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summit discuss funding challenges for companies in this region. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

The panel of speakers for the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summit discuss funding challenges for companies in this region. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

Gorguinpour spoke about the work the Air Force has done to create contract vehicles to attract cybersecurity startups to work with the service. One of those tools is the Open Systems Acquisition program that attracts startups to consortiums and gets them under contract on Other Transactions Authority.

Sage and DeSanto spoke about the challenges and opportunities to raise funding for the a cybersecurity startup in the region. They recommended finding earlier customers and refining companies’ pitches before making proposals to early investors.

Chery explained the work he’s doing with The Datatribe, a startup studio, to help experts coming from government intelligence agencies build their companies. Chery, a serial entrepreneur himself, said he sees a lot of opportunity to turn these data and cybersecurity experts at these agencies into entrepreneurs.

The winners of the DMV Cyber Five pose with their rewards at the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summit. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

The winners of the DMV Cyber Five pose with their rewards at the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summit. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

The evening finished with the naming of the first ever DMV Cyber 5 — five standout cybersecurity small businesses in the greater Washington region. This year’s winners were Ion Channel, Syncurity, Fortalice, Virgil Security, and HeurekaCyber.

Michael Wellman, CEO of Virgil Security pitches at the Cybersecurity Innovation Summit after his company was named one of the DMV Cyber 5. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

Michael Wellman, CEO of Virgil Security pitches at the Cybersecurity Innovation Summit after his company was named one of the DMV Cyber 5. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

JC Herz, cofounder of Ion Channel, speaks to the crowd at the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summary after her company was named one of the DMV Cyber 5. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

JC Herz, cofounder of Ion Channel, speaks to the crowd at the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summary after her company was named one of the DMV Cyber 5. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

JP Bourget, CEO of Syncurity, pitches to the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summit after his company was selected as a member of the DMV Cyber Five. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

JP Bourget, CEO of Syncurity, pitches to the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summit after his company was selected as a member of the DMV Cyber Five. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

Max Everett, Managing Director for Cyber Operations of Fortalice, pitches to the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summit after his company was selected as a member of the DMV Cyber Five. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

Max Everett, Managing Director for Cyber Operations of Fortalice, pitches to the DMV Cybersecurity Innovation Summit after his company was selected as a member of the DMV Cyber Five. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

Shawn Key, the President of HeurekaCyber, pitches at the Cybersecurity Innovation Summit after his company was named one of the DMV Cyber 5. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

Shawn Key, the President of HeurekaCyber, pitches at the Cybersecurity Innovation Summit after his company was named one of the DMV Cyber 5. (TandemNSI/Chris Kelly)

Thank you to everyone who joined us. One of the highlights of the event were the engaged questions for the panelists and the companies who pitched.

TandemNSI’s next event, Beyond A.I. Forum, will take place on Jan. 11 at the Booz Allen Hamilton Innovation Center in downtown Washington DC. The focus will be artificial intelligence and the impact it will have on our economy and the future of national security agencies.

You can learn more about the event here.

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