At Philly-based Dreamit, the next hot space is secure technology, a field that includes tech-based cybersecurity platforms, but also tools to combat physical and social threats against people and companies.
That’s why the accelerator launched Tuesday its new SecureTech vertical, a push to accelerate some 15 to 20 companies a year through 14-week sprints that will provide early-stage startups with mentorship, meetings with investors and connections to potential clients.
To lead the vertical, Dreamit drafted cybersecurity specialist and Army veteran Bob Stasio, who most recently worked at IBM’s X-Force Command Center as chief of operations. Stasio, 36, will be relocating to Northern Liberties from Boston in the coming weeks to join the accelerator.
(The application process to the program, which will kick off in September, is now open.)
A former operative with both the Army and the National Security Agency’s cybersecurity operations, he entered the private sector in 2012 by starting a D.C.-based consulting company, Ronin Analytics. He later joined Bloomberg’s threat intelligence operations, and finally joining IBM’s X-Force Command Center.
“That experience [both in the private and public sector] opened my eyes what the scope of the possible was,” Stasio said. “I saw how unprotected the private sector was.”
As managing director, the expert said his connections will help companies cut through the noisy cybersecurity space, in which Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) at corporations are often bombarded by vendors.
“Chief information security officers are often being recruited from the intelligence community and it’s kind of a small world,” Stasio said. “Smaller companies need to be able to cut through the noise and get connected. We’ll be giving them the ability to do that through my network and Dreamit’s own network.”
How big is the cybersecurity market? On one hand, damages from leaks and breaches are expected to hit the $6 trillion mark by 2021, with global spending on cybersecurity projected to be around $1 trillion.
“It’s the defining problem of our time,” Stasio said. “There’s a lot of challenges and there’s a lot of innovation that needs to happen.”
Dreamit plans to get ahead in that space by looking at cybersecurity from a “holistic” perspective, Stasio said: from technology platforms to shun attackers to protection of physical space and warding off internal threats, which account for 40 percent of IT breaches.
“We’re looking at the problem holistically, and that’s a novel take on the problem,” said Stasio.
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