Kaspersky Lab unveils cybersecurity startup accelerator

SSC will provide startups with access to business, cybersecurity and cross-industry expertise from around the world

Kaspersky Lab has launched a cybersecurity startup accelerator with its Security Startup Challenge (SSC), but the UK will not be a location for it.

The SSC is a mentor-driven acceleration programme developed and implemented by the Kaspersky Academy in partnership with venture industry players Mangrove Capital Partners and the ABRT Venture Fund.

SSC will provide startups with access to business, cybersecurity and cross-industry expertise from around the world. Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said: "As the cyber threat landscape becomes more and more dangerous, the world needs new ideas, new concepts and new approaches to cybersecurity. As a result, there's been a significant increase in venture funding of early-stage startups in the industry."

He said: "Young entrepreneurs today have an excellent chance to build a truly successful company. 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."

Running from March to August, the Security Startup Challenge 2015 will comprise a preliminary series of two-day workshops in Jerusalem, Berlin, San Francisco, Singapore and Moscow. UK startups will therefore have to travel to compete. This will be followed by a three-month acceleration program which will include distance team work and two boot camps in Luxembourg, culminating in a grand finale event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA).

In all, 40 places are available at SSC 2015, offering founders of startup projects in cybersecurity and related areas - such as fintech, healthcare, mobile, the Internet of Things and the cloud - a chance to build their knowledge and compete for an $80,000 (£53,000) prize fund and post-programme support. The closing date for applications is 28 April 2015.

"Technology megatrends such as mobile, cloud computing and the Internet of Things are leaving consumers increasingly, and unwittingly, exposed to cybercrooks. Perhaps more worrying is the fact that criminal syndicates operating on the internet are as scalable as any other internet-enabled business," said Michael Jackson, partner at Mangrove Capital Partners.

"We need to innovate our approach to cybersecurity to meet the demands of this new hyper-connected world. This accelerator, the first of its kind, will bring together cybersecurity startups from all over the world and ensure that those which hold the most promise receive all the help and support they need to grow at internet speed."

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