Spark Festival Infosec Pitchfest – the future of Aussie infosec on show

The face of information security is changing. No longer dominated by a small number of companies, infosec has become a burgeoning marketplace of opportunity. The large, traditional vendors and consultancies are being challenged by some very innovative and disruptive companies that look at the challenges of infosec in new ways.

As part of the 2016 Spark Festival – an event to give start-ups a platform for promoting their ideas, products and services, local success story Atlassian hosted nine start-ups, giving them an opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

Atlassian’s Craig Davies hosted the event.

“Atlassian is sponsoring the Spark Festival and this is just one of many events. We’re very passionate about growing the Australian industry,” he says. “We have a great facility and we love to have people come in and find new ways to grow business in Australia”.

Davies says the presentations given by the nine finalists – selected by a panel of local infosec pros from dozens of entrants – were excellent. Coming from a range of different companies, they covered everything from deep cryptography to consumer data protection.

“What I really enjoyed was seeing some really creative ideas come out of the ecosystem that we’re just not exposing enough today,” says Davies.

The four judges at the event were Loretta Jospeh, the director of market development from the Sydney Stock Exchange, Dominic Reardon from AirTree Ventures, Daniella Traino, the cyber security lead at Data 61, and Andrey Shirben from Follow The Seed.

Reardon says he was pleased to see so many of the companies who presented to have quite mature models for getting their ideas to the market.

Joseph says “I’m looking for R and D projects that have a commercialisation element and technology that is disruptive and scalable”.

One of the things Traino was looking for was greater clarity in what problem the companies were trying to solve and what sets them apart from others that are already in the market.

“I was looking for a sense of maturity of where they are at,” she says.

Shirben was looking for young Australia cyber companies to assess the current market.

“We all know the state of the market, in general, is pretty bad,” he says. “I was trying to see what was up and coming. There were a couple of interesting companies. But, coming from Israel, I see most of the things here were tackling shallow problems. That’s not to say they’re not important”.

Shirben and Traino agreed that they would like to have seen some of the companies tackle big problems.

“I loved the energy. The fact that these companies wanted to do something different and not take the traditional route – that’s exciting. We don’t have enough of that,” says Traino.

The nine companies that pitched were The Security Artist, CryptoPhoto (2nd place winner), IOKeeper, Kasada (Winner), FASSKey, Elttam, Augmentor, Kemarto, and BankVault (3rd place winner).

Tags infosecCryptoPhotoAustralian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC)#AISA2016BankVaultKasadaIOkeeperThe SeedFASSKeyAUgmentor

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