(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Dr. Anita D’Amico is very familiar with Maryland.
Leading Northrop Grumman’s first information warfare team and creating the cybersecurity division at Applied Visions, Inc. (AVI), she often came to the state to work with government-affiliated institutions and saw the cyber talent in the state.
As CEO of Northport, New York-based application vulnerability management company Code Dx, D’Amico also travels to the state to work with government clients.
On Thursday, she was in front of a different audience: DataTribe, the Fulton-based cyber “foundry” building commercial cyber and data science ventures from intelligence community teams, gathered investors and entrepreneurs from Maryland and Silicon Valley for the second year of the DataTribe Challenge at City Garage in Baltimore’s Port Covington.
It was a gathering of a business-oriented group that’s starting to have a larger presence alongside the government bases. Code Dx was one of three finalists that came from around the country for the event.
The challenge, which reaches worldwide to identify promising cyber and data science companies, shows that the efforts to grow this entrepreneurship-centered community can also include a splash: Enlisted judges represented big names like Apple, Google, Cisco, Crowdstrike and Shopify.
And, on the spot, DataTribe’s leaders said they will invest $2 million in Code Dx, which won the challenge.
Reflecting DataTribe’s focus, the win provides funding for a company that has roots in solving problems for the government and is looking to grow in the commercial market.
“Code Dx combines next-gen technology with the market-changing focus we look for in this competition,” DataTribe cofounder Mike Janke said in a statement. “We’re ready to provide Dr. D’Amico and her team with the resources to go continue accelerating their growth and investment benchmarks.”
D’Amico led R&D efforts which started as a $99,000 grant and eventually garnered $5 million in federal funding to develop what became the Code Dx platform. The venture started inside AVI and was spun out as independent company in 2016. The software was initially built as part of research funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and has since expanded to a mix of government and corporate customers.
Many breaches result in an attacker exploiting a vulnerability in a web application. The idea behind Code Dx is to make finding and testing for vulnerabilities part of the process of building applications.
The company’s software is designed to provide a single place to “orchestrate” the tools that test the vulnerability of an application, as well as configure and run them. It also correlates the results and helps to prioritize what should be fixed first.
“We have about 50 customers and we already have a sales process, but we need to scale that,” D’Amico said in an interview after the win was announced. Following the new funding, D’Amico said the company will plan to hire in sales, marketing and technical support, adding to a 13-member team.
The Challenge capped a process in which the finalist companies worked with DataTribe team members. With the win, Code Dx may also be eligible for an additional $6.5 million investment from DataTribe and Silicon Valley-founded venture firm AllegisCyber. It also has D’Amico thinking about Maryland as a place that can continue to help grow the company.
“I’m very familiar with the area and I can definitely see us putting new staff in the Maryland area,” she said.
Finalists also included the following companies, with each of the three who presented Wednesday receiving $20,000 to split:
Bloomfield Robotics, a Pittsburgh-based company that spun out of Carnegie Mellon University’s celebrated Robotics Institute, is developing tools that provide crop data to help the agriculture industry detect problems with crops, and breed crops that will improve yield.
Security Advisor is a Sunnyvale, California-based company addressing that human error is often the root of breaches. The AI-based platform is designed to provide personalized “teachable moments” through different kinds of content that raise awareness of cybersecurity practices.-30-
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