DataTribe is hosting its second cyber startup competition - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Jul. 29, 2019 11:58 am

DataTribe is hosting its second cyber startup competition

The Fulton-based team that's focused on building cybersecurity and data science startups debuted the DataTribe Challenge last year, and the winner just scored a Series A investment.

AllegisCyber Founder Bob Ackerman and DataTribe cofounder Mike Janke. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

DataTribe just announced a pitch competition seeking cyber startups from around the world.

The Fulton-based startup studio detailed plans Tuesday for its second annual DataTribe Challenge. It’s open to “startups with a vision to disrupt cybersecurity and data science” who have less that $1.2 million in seed financing. The company is known to look for unique startups coming out of government hubs such as intelligence agencies and research labs.

Three finalists will split a $20,000 dollar prize, and the winner will receive up to $2 million in seed funding. Plus, there’s a potential for up to $6.5 million in follow-up Series A venture funding from DataTribe and Silicon-based venture capital firm AllegisCyber.

DataTribe CMO Tony Surak said that DataTribe sees about 250 investment opportunities each year, but only chooses three or four to invest in. He expects the competition to be just as selective, and is hoping for around 100 applicants. The competition is open to companies that meet the financial requirement and have an already developed (or have initiated development) of a minimal viable product. Preference will be given to companies with commercial experience or who work in cybersecurity, data science and defense.

“We look for teams that have unique experiences that they developed from the intelligence communities nationwide and are looking to apply that in the entrepreneurial setting,” Surak said. “We work predominantly with those types of folks that have deep domain knowledge that they earned within the [intelligence community].”

The stakes are especially high, considering last year’s winner, Prevailion, just closed a Series A round at a $35 million valuation. Founder and CEO Karim Hijazi said in a statement that winning the competition was particularly important to growth because it accelerated their expected timeline.

The competition also helps to draw attention for DataTribe, where leaders are making a big push to build companies in Maryland.

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“It gives us a platform to communicate who we, what we do and how we do it,” Surak said of the competition. “…It really creates a lot of excitement around the concept, brings together a lot of interesting investors and other entrepreneurs and cyber execs in one place.”

The deadline to apply is October 1.

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