San Diego Opens CyberHive to Incubate Cybersecurity Startups

2/14/13Follow @bvbigelow

A cybersecurity initiative that began in San Diego several years ago has taken an interesting turn, with the formation of a new technology incubator for seed-stage companies developing new ways to defend computer networks, software, and data from malicious attacks.

The incubator, called CyberHive San Diego, is modeled after a similar cybersecurity accelerator at bwtech@UMBC, the University of Maryland’s Baltimore center for innovation and entrepreneurship. The Maryland CyberHive is within 15 miles of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, and includes a “Cync” program created under a partnership with Northrop Grumman to develop technologies for protecting IT systems vital to national defense.

The San Diego CyberHive is intended to help cybersecurity and analytics startups refine their business plans, identify investors, and prepare to bring their products to market, founder Darin Andersen told me by telephone yesterday. Andersen, a former top executive in San Diego for the anti-virus developer Eset, said the push to create the incubator grew out of efforts to raise public awareness about Internet threats and to make cybersecurity a focus among defense contractors in the area.

The CyberHive plans to provide office space for about 20 seed-level startups, along with other resources—such as access to “sandbox” computer systems where malicious software can be safely analyzed. Each startup admitted to the cybersecurity incubator would pay a subsidized pro rata share for their office space—and provide an ownership stake in the company that ranges from a fraction of a percent to about 5 percent of the startup company.

Anderson, who now heads U.S. operations for Norman, a Norwegian developer of malware analysis and security software, said the CyberHive will cohabit space in a downtown office building with Norman’s North American headquarters.

The CyberHive also could provide a startup from $50,000 to $200,000 in seed funding—in exchange for an ownership stake that would range from 20 to 40 percent, Andersen said.

“We are putting together a $2 million fund from … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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