​Dimension Data and Deakin University open cybersecurity accelerator

The six-month accelerator program designed to help early-stage cybersecurity startups is funded by the Victorian government's LaunchVic kitty.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Dimension Data and Deakin University have partnered to launch a cybersecurity accelerator program in Melbourne, funded under the Victorian government's LaunchVic initiative.

The six-month, mentor-driven accelerator program, CyRise, is expected to help early-stage cybersecurity startups take local ideas to the global market.

Program participants will be based out of Melbourne's Teamsquare coworking space and will receive AU$50,000 in capital as part of a capped Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) arrangement.

SAFE is an agreement between an investor and a company that provides a right for the investor to receive equity in the future, without determining a specific price per share.

The startups will be mentored by the likes of Craig Davies, who is the CEO of the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network and the former head of security for Australian startup darling Atlassian.

Davies previously said he wants to see a future where cybersecurity firms in Australia can "thrive and grow".

"We've got a whole bunch of companies that have had to go overseas to be successful and then we see them as legitimate players -- we need to stop this practice," he said, speaking at the Emerging Cyber Threats Summit in Sydney last month.

Dimension Data was given a AU$450,000 injection from the LaunchVic startup kitty in August last year to set up the cybersecurity incubator.

The incubator hopes to address the skills shortage in the Australian cybersecurity industry by accelerating the development of unique cybersecurity solutions and intellectual property. It also sits alongside Deakin University's new cybersecurity degree program.

LaunchVic was established in November 2015 and will be given a total of AU$60 million over four years to invest in core infrastructure, improve access to capital for local startups, advocate on Commonwealth legislation and regulation, as well as engage in startup events, campaigns, competitions, and mentoring programs.

The LaunchVic funding comes from the AU$508 million Premier's Jobs and Investment Fund.

Last month, the Victorian government announced plans to establish a fintech hub at the Goods Shed North in Docklands in Melbourne's inner-west, aiming to attract investment and position itself as the fintech capital of the country.

The Goods Shed is also home to Data61's Cyber Security and Innovation Hub. Opened in October, the cyber hub houses PhD students, cyber arms of other organisations, and includes the presence of eight universities and private sector partners.

The hub will also house several other organisations including a collaboration with Oxford University's Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre (GCSCC) and Victoria's new Oceania Cyber Security Centre (OCSC).

It was announced in late 2015 that Melbourne would be receiving the first international office of Oxford University's GCSCC, which will carry out audits of national cybersecurity risks and capabilities to help countries to plan investments and strategies to improve their digital security.

At the time, Victoria's Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis said establishing an office in Victoria cemented the state's reputation as a hub for cybersecurity, with the National Broadband Network's (NBN) announcing it too was bringing its National Operations Centre to Melbourne.

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