JVP seeks that million-dollar cyber-security idea

One of Israel’s largest venture capital firms has capital aplenty for the start-up with the Next Big Thing in cyber-security

Projected aerial view of the IDF's advanced technology and training facilities near Beersheba (Courtesy: Ministry of Development for the Galilee and Negev)
Projected aerial view of the IDF's advanced technology and training facilities near Beersheba (Courtesy: Ministry of Development for the Galilee and Negev)

Cyber-security is a hot topic any time, but it’s set to get even hotter in the coming year: Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), one of Israel’s leading venture capital funds, said Wednesday that it would sink a million dollars into the start-up that comes up with the best new cyber-security idea. Called the Cybertition, the contest offers tech developers not only the means to kick-start development, but a place to do it as well – at JVP’s new Beersheba cyber-security incubator.

Besides offering money, the contest will also offer entrepreneurs a chance to meet top figures in the cyber-security field; up to three of the most promising start-ups will be invited to join JVP at the RSA 2014 annual security conference in San Francisco in February. The winner of the Cybertition will be announced at the RSA conference itself.

Cyber-security is one of JVP’s specialties. The group has funded numerous start-ups that went on to become successful in the field, such as CyberArk, Navajo (acquired by SalesForce), Magnifire (acquired by F5 Networks), ThetaRay and NativeFlow. Israel has seen over $2 billion worth of M&A activity in the cyber-security sector recently, led by acquisitions from 18 major multinational corporations, JVP said.

In order to encourage more start-up activity in the sector, JVP recently opened JVP Cyber Labs, under license of the Office of the Chief Scientist; several cyber-startups are already working there. The project is based in the new Beersheba Advanced Technologies Park, where several large cyber-security organizations have recently opened up shop, among them EMC, RSA, and Deutsche Telekom. Besides multi-nationals and local cyber-security companies, the center also hosts the headquarters of the IDF Communications Corps and Ben-Gurion University’s cyber-security lab.

“Beersheba is rapidly becoming the global cyber-security hub with an unparalleled ecosystem offering startups a unique opportunity to significantly enhance their growth potential,” said Yoav Tzruya, Partner at JVP’s Cyber Labs. “It’s a premier setting for taking companies with little more than an idea, and providing them with the tools, expertise, mentoring and partnerships to transform their concept into a cyber-security powerhouse.”

Start-ups seeking to apply for the contest are invited to send a short PowerPoint presentation (up to 15 slides) and a five-page business plan detailing their concept, technology, competitive positioning and market potential to cyber@jvpvc.com.

“This competition allows start-ups at the earliest stage of development – even with just an idea – to access the guidance, expertise and networks necessary to build global, market-leading companies. It’s a chance to ‘fast-forward’ a start-up with a concept that can truly revolutionize the industry.” said Gadi Tirosh, General Partner of JVP. “Israel is rapidly establishing itself as the global epicenter for cyber-security innovation. To this end, our Cybertition is fast-tracking the next generation of successful cyber-security entrepreneurs to help bring urgently needed cyber-solutions to this increasingly critical field.”

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