Together with a consortium of partners including C5 Capital; Office of Naval Research – Global; Royal Holloway, University of London; Chatham House; MySecurity Australia; and Asia Pacific Security Magazine, InnoCentive has just launched the 7th edition of the Global Security Challenge (GSC).
The principle is simple: most innovation comes from start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but keeping tabs on emerging companies and their technologies can be very difficult for government and industry, particularly as threats and their solutions continue to diversify. The GSC addresses this this by attracting and recognizing innovative security start-ups and SMEs from around the world, bringing them together with academia, government, and industry.
This year’s Challenge will focus on cybersecurity, and we recently spoke to sponsor C5 Capital’s Nick Kingsbury about his involvement and interest in the GSC.
Hi Mr. Kingsbury, thanks for your time. Could you please start by telling us a bit about C5 Capital?
C5 Capital was founded a couple of years ago as a specialist Venture Capital fund focused solely on investing in security technology companies. We believe we are the only such fund in Europe, and through this focus and also our great network, we can really make a difference to those companies we back.
I understand you’ve been a long term supporter of the Global Security Challenge. What benefit does the GSC bring to you?
The Global Security Challenge team has done a fantastic job at encouraging innovation in security and also in bringing together early stage companies, investors, government agencies, and large corporates; it’s a networking opportunity to die for. The entrants in the competition always include a few really novel approaches and I have been lucky enough to work with some of the finalists.
This year’s focus is on cybersecurity innovations. For all the potential Solvers out there, could you tell us more about your interest in the topic, and the type of entries that would excite you?
We see cybersecurity as a really hot space and one we are keen to invest in. As the threats change, there are myriad opportunities for innovators to address the new challenges. We are very interested in cyber intelligence plays – the increase in targeted attacks means anything you can do to understand the “who, how, when, and why” can be immensely valuable. We are also interested in new types of defence of systems, whether conventional servers and PCs or mobile devices which are now being targeted in earnest.
We’ve seen some very different winners and finalists in the past. Do you have a favourite GSC alum?
There have been so many great finalists it is hard to choose, but for me, Ksplice is one of my favourites. They have a system that allows the security patching of systems while they are running, meaning systems can be made secure much more quickly and with no disruption. I was lucky enough to be selected as their mentor as part of the GSC process and saw them go from being a very early stage MIT spin out to being acquired by Oracle.
Any final words of advice to start-ups or SMEs considering entering the GSC?
Don’t forget that it is not just about the technology. Find great people in your domain who can act as advisors and mentors and who will give investors and customers confidence.