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Israel is no longer a nation known only for its startup companies but now as a Cyber nation as well. The government, VC’s and companies offering a variety of products and services for the cyber security market are now investing in and promoting the Cyber Security market in Israel.
A recent event organized by SpeedMind – Israel offered the opportunity for an inside look into Cyber Technology in Israel. Both Israel and the U.S. are providing new funding opportunities in this unique field. As such the event offered an insight into the government s’ perspective of the cyber world, a look into cyber strategy and risks, as well as an understanding of the field from an investors’ point of view.
The Internet is perceived today as a weapon and a threat. It is no longer just a daily means to acquire knowledge or communicate with each other, as it was preserved in the past. Based on this knowledge, speakers and attendees at the event spoke about the growth of the cyber market, as well as the different means that must be acquired to adjust to both governmental systems as well as the dynamic environment today’s commercial market is exposed to.
The governmental sector is needed to provide regulations and certifications of work in the cyber arena, as well as to adopt a new defense doctrine. The players in the commercial market must now be educated to acknowledge that a true threat of cyber war exists, and must arm itself against the threat.
The financial aspect of promoting the cyber nation was also discussed at the event, and representatives of the Israeli Chief Scientist Office (CSO), the office of the Prime Minister, the BIRD foundation and JVP venture capital presented various financial aid mechanisms to help the cyber defense entrepreneur.
Mr. Avi Shavit, Kidma program Director, and head of Cyber & Homeland Security Research Activities at the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) presented the cyber defense R&D program, the’ KIDMA Program’. Grants have been allocated by KIDMA in the amount of 40 million dollars for the first year and another 40 million dollars for the second year of the program. The purpose of the grants is to provide initial investment funds to companies in the cyber defense arena.
Companies which have participated in the program have received unique benefits, such as financial support of up to 50 percent of an amount requested, and there is no limit to the amount which a company can ask for. The aim is to promote technological innovation in the cyber defense field, leverage knowledge centers as well as creating solutions to secure cyberspace by promoting R & D. Such support will assist Israeli companies in retaining a respectable position in the field, enhance the competitiveness abroad and build long-term competitive advantages through technological advantages.
Another governmental agency that is providing assistance to companies in the field of cyber defense is the Israel National Cyber Bureau (INCB) which was established in order to promote Israeli industry in the field of cyber defense. Mr. Rami Efrati – who heads the Civilian Division of the Israel National Cyber Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office, also addressed the participants in the event, presenting the Role of National Cyber Bureau in Promoting the Cyber Defense Industry.
A representative of the BIRD Foundation called upon Israeli companies to present ideas for joint ventures with American companies in the field of Homeland Security and especially in the area of Cyber defense.
The BIRD Foundation speaker indicated that the Foundation is operating to enhance U.S. –Collaboration. He stated that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and The Israeli Ministry of Public Security (MOPS) are both looking for companies specifically in the fields of First Responders, Disaster Management, Cyber Security and Explosives Detection.
Yoav Tzurya, a partner at Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) said that JVC is interested in investing in cyber defense companies. According to Tzurya the main fields of interest to JVP are: Big Data Analytics, End Point Security, as well as in Next Generation Firewall and Mobile Device Security.
Tzurya announced that JVP is currently investing in startup companies within the cyber defense arena and is operating about 22 incubators today. He stressed that a company in the cyber defense arena that is looking for investment should look for at least 1.5 million dollars so its product can reach beta phase.
It was disclosed that JVP is also the first venture capital to establish Israel’s private cyber-security incubator. The incubator was established at the Beersheva Technology Park in cooperation with Ben Gurion University’s technology transfer company.