Cyber security

So long & thanks for all the phish: cybersecurity accelerator CyRise calls it quits

- April 27, 2023 2 MIN READ
Scott Handsaker
CyRise CEO Scott Handsaker at Demo Day.
Cybersecurity accelerator CyRise, which has programs in Sydney and Melbourne, will close next month after five years.

The program has backed 39 startups across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, India and the US since it launched in 2017, with the backing of British IT services and consulting firm NTT and Deakin University.

The program pioneered support for cybersecurity startups long before the issue became front of mind for corporate Australia and government in the wake of a series a major hacks of prominent firms and institutions ranging from Service NSW to Medibank, Optus, Canva, ANU and Latitude.

In a statement posted on Medium this week, the organisation said NTT and Deakin have decided to close the CyRise initiative from May 19.

The final five startups in the program – Ensignia, InfoSecAssure, NullifyOnqlave and 6pillars – will pitch at the final accelerator demo day in Sydney on May 9. Free tickets to attend are available here.

CyRise is a 3-month accelerator program for cybersecurity startup founders, along with week-long bootcamps, community events and ongoing founder support. 55% of the companies that took part in the program have gone on to raise additional funding worth $44 million and the companies involved across seven cohorts are now worth a combined $210 million.

They’ve also created 150 jobs and delivered an overall return multiple of 3.55x and an IRR of 50%, demonstrating that Australian cyber security startups are great investments.

The program set up shop in Sydney last year at Tech Central with backing from Invest NSW and Atlassian. Former NSW minister Alister Henskens announced CyRise had been chosen to run the NSW Government’s $1 million Cyber Security Accelerator program last August. The program offered three-day boot camps, a 14-week accelerator program for startups, and a new scale up program for later stage scaling businesses.

Four of the five startups selected for the NSW program are based in the state. When that latest – and ultimately last – cohort was announced in February, there was no hint that Deakin was having second thoughts about the accelerator program.

Virginie Hoareau, Executive Director at Deakin Research and a CyRise board member said at the time that “Deakin’s partnership with CyRise enables Deakin to apply its commitment to cyber security research excellence and generate real economic growth.”

Deakin University has been contacted for comment. We’ll update this story if they respond.

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