Accelerators -- organizations that provide advice and funding assistance to promising young firms and entrepreneurs -- are becoming an important part of the cultivation of new security technology, experts say. While MACH37 focuses primarily on East Coast startups, startup incubator CyberHive is operating as an incubator in the west, and organizations such as SINET are helping emerging companies make connections and gain recognition.
"In many cases, we find that cybersecurity entrepreneurs have a good, solid technology idea, but they don't know a lot about how to get funding or how to bring products to market," says Rick Gordon, managing partner at MACH37. "The program is here to provide the business and technical validation necessary to compete in today’s markets.”
In an announcement posted Monday (PDF), MACH37 began accepting applications for its spring season of assistance, in which it will take on six or more startups for an intense program of technical validation, funding assistance, and potential customer introductions.
"We're looking for companies and entrepreneurs that have ideas which could be disruptive, and have the technical chops and the will to bring them to market," Gordon says.
Upon acceptance into the program, companies receive $25,000 in exchange for a small amount of equity. Following completion of the program and a successful Demo Day presentation, the CIT GAP Fund will match up to $100,000 of outside investment for companies located in Virginia.
"It's one thing to know what you're building; it's another thing to know whether customers are ready to buy it," says Gordon. "For most cybersecurity startups, it's hard to even get in the door, much less find customers that are willing to participate in alpha or beta testing. We have those relationships, and we help the startups get an opportunity to work with real customers."
The deadline for applications to MACH37's spring "cohort" is Jan. 31. The accelerator will conduct another session in the fall.
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