Cybersecurity Launch Summit Round Up

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Leading cybersecurity startups, government leaders and investors attended Tandem Innovation Alliance’s Cybersecurity Launch Summit at The MITRE Corporation on April 6 to discuss ways to continue growing the explosive cybersecurity ecosystem developing in the greater Washington region.

Peggy Styer, managing partner at Razor’s Edge Partners, Ron Gula, founder of Gula Tech Adventures, and Anup Ghosh, founder of Invincea, spoke on the summit’s keynote panel about their entrepreneurial endeavors and ways the region can establish itself as the global cybersecurity capital.

The Cybersecurity Launch Summit's keynote panel discusses how to grow the region's local cybersecurity industry. (TandemNSI photo)

The Cybersecurity Launch Summit’s keynote panel discusses how to grow the region’s local cybersecurity industry.

Cybersecurity startup founders joined the discussion asking questions about the best ways to raise funding for the companies and properly market their capabilities in what’s becoming a crowded field.

American University started the evening by releasing the results of the joint report produced by American and TandemNSI: “From Service to Product: An Assessment of the Washington, DC Metro Region’s Cybersecurity Industry.” The report identified 858 cybersecurity firms in the Washington metro region and outlined some the strengths and weaknesses of the local industry.

American University's Erran Carmel, the director of AU's Business in the Capital Initiative

American University’s Erran Carmel, the director of AU’s Business in the Capital Initiative

For example, only 5 percent of those 858 firms focused on developing cybersecurity products. Predictably, most of the companies in the area are also dependent on the government as a main customer. This is important because it limits the amount of investors in the region as venture capital firms tend to avoid government services companies.

The panel discussed what these challenges mean for the local cybersecurity region. Gula described the struggles he faced when raising funding for the company he founded, Tenable Network Security, which is based in Columbia, Md.

MITRE hosted the event at their campus in Fairfax County. American University and TandemNSI found the most cybersecurity firms concentrated in Fairfax and Montgomery Country. More than 300 cybersecurity firms call Fairfax home. In a sign of regional collaboration to support the industry, both Fairfax and Montgomery Counties served as sponsors for the Cybersecurity Launch Summit.

Along with the panel session, the audience also got to learn more about MITRE and the research and development efforts their teams are leading for the federal agencies. Barry Costa, director of MITRE’s Technology Transfer Office, and Mark Mitchell, a senior multi-discipline engineer with MITRE, spoke about the organizations efforts to ensure the government continues to innovate in the cybersecurity space.

Barry Costa, director of MTIRE's Technology Transfer Office

Barry Costa, director of MTIRE’s Technology Transfer Office

The evening completed with pitches from five of the leading cybersecurity product companies in the region: IDVector, Steel Mountain, Tensor Wrench, SecuLore and Ostendio. All five exhibited how local cybersecurity product companies touch a wide variety of markets like emergency response agencies and intelligence analysts.

The event served as both an opportunity to build the local area’s cybersecurity industry as well as a kickoff event for Tandem Innovation Alliance, the D.C. region’s newest community of emerging technology startups and small businesses.

As part of Tandem Innovation Alliance’s launch, we will host a series of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and national security events through the Spring and Summer in the DC area. Our next event in May will focus on artificial intelligence and where the government is investing in the new technology. Expect for more details on this event and others in the coming week.

Thank you to our sponsors — SpeakerBox, Avison Young, Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, Fairfax Country Economic Develop Authority, MITRE and American University. Without your support, the Cybersecurity Launch Summit would not have been possible.

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