CONCORDIA Start-up Community: Where do we find the greatest hits of EU cybersecurity new wave?

CONCORDIA Start-up Community: Where do we find the greatest hits of EU cybersecurity new wave?

We are getting closer and closer to accomplish the objective of pooling Europe’s Cybersecurity expertise and implementing European Cybersecurity Competence Centre and Network. The new structure described in the legislative proposal would support all types of cybersecurity stakeholders, but there should be a special attention for start-ups.

Nature of cybersecurity market is sometimes kind for start-ups. Sometimes it is not.

Co-evolution of tools and tactics between attacker and defender makes it a very dynamic market where larger enterprise might struggle to keep the pace of innovation and adaptation. Agility helps to launch solution, even in its demo version, that might address the latest threat. New threat and opportunity waves come and go, and solid silver surfer start-ups, unicorn pretenders or not, are waiting to catch the right one.

On the other hand, cybersecurity solution often span technology, but also people, process and policies, and single start-up can only cover a fraction of it. Market is more affected by societal, legal and economic parameters than the other IT segments, and they might need other sort of muscle as well. On demand side, cybersecurity investment decisions are still largely embedded or linked into the more generic decisions about IT projects, and cybersecurity is still treated with the second order of importance. This makes it more difficult for the new entrants.

Pan-European Cybersecurity Start-Up Community (PECS-UP) is a community established in CONCORDIA project with a vision to bring together different stakeholders relevant for cybersecurity entrepreneurship. We started with start-ups, but towards the end of 2020, more stakeholders have been invited to join, such as investors, incubators, accelerators, technology transfer or market adoption experts, as well as other agents in external initiatives and organisations of relevance to the community.

The community was presented during CONCORDIA Open Doors event, where start-up panel session participants explored different perspectives and expectations, in relation to access to funding, promotion, mentoring, entrepreneurial education, or access to laboratory and testing facilities. They addressed question on the relationship that future European Cybersecurity Competence Centre should have with start-ups and small/medium enterprise community.

The conclusion was that EU needs quality and not quantity, when it comes to cybersecurity start-ups. Assuring access to funding is necessary, but to succeed they need more than that. To use metaphor: money can buy a recording session in the luxury studio, where the song from start-up demo tape gets professional production and sound quality, but to build a fan club, demo tape might serve just as good. Only if fans had free, or very cheap access to it, rather than having to buy expensive CD…

Yes…this is all so 80´s…but going back to cybersecurity markets and CONCORDIA open door panel session: move from proof of concept to the real operational deployment has been recognised as the major challenge for start-ups. So, how about setting up an environment where cybersecurity users or large system integrators can try, for free, “demo version” of the greatest hits of cybersecurity start-up solutions?

We invite you to join PECS-UP community and to stay up to date with these debates, the future initiatives and much more.

(By Aljosa Pasic, ATOS)