A Silicon Valley-based VC firm might open an office in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., region to invest in cybersecurity companies.
Bob Ackerman, founder of Allegis Capital in Palo Alto, “is weighing whether to open up a physical presence for Allegis in the region to source cyber deals and support those companies,” according to the BBJ.
In a Q&A, Ackerman said that Maryland is still missing “relevant capital”:
[F]rom my point of view, [relevant capital] is the catalyst required to pull all of this raw material together and energize the innovation economy. When I talk about relevant capital, it’s not just investment capital, but it’s the right kind of investment capital. It’s the capital that understands the process of taking an idea and successfully building a business. …
In cyber, it’s the relationships back to the major technology companies that are the partners or the acquirers of startup companies in the cyber innovation field. And, frankly, the bulk of those companies are based in Silicon Valley.
Of course, for cybersecurity startups or companies in the greater Baltimore region that are more interested in being lifestyle companies — what Wasabi Ventures‘ general partner Tom Kuegler considers startups that have become successful, profitable businesses — staying in state might be the best move, given:
- Baltimore’ s proximity to U.S. Cyber Command.
- Maryland’s proximity to federal agencies that routinely hand defense contracts to private firms.
- Universities, such as UMBC, that are investing more money into cybersecurity degree programs.
- A $20 million cybersecurity fund set to be launched by the Maryland Technology Development Corporation.
But, as Ackerman points out, early-stage and mid-level capital (and a willingness on the part of venture capitalists to part with money) is one element of the region’s startup scene that needs to be developed.-30-
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