You’re working on a world-class cyber security solution. To succeed, you’ll need more than technology.

Let’s see how far we can go together.

Apply Now

What's The Deal?

We’re a venture accelerator focused squarely on early stage cyber security startups. We’re looking for founders from anywhere in the Asia-Pacific region to join us in Melbourne for a six-month, mentor-driven program. We’ll give you $50,000 as part of a capped SAFE note, then do everything we possibly can to make you successful.

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    Fast-track your future

    In our six-month, mentor-driven accelerator program, you’ll get all you need to successfully take your idea to a global market.

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    Grow your expectations

    Your peers in this program are the region’s finest. They’re an important part of the experience, so we ensure you work with the very best.

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    Be mentored by the best

    Receive intensive mentoring on everything from scaling tech teams to growth marketing, from Australia’s leading innovators, technologists and venture capitalists.

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    Reach customers early

    Connect directly with early enterprise customers through our Corporate Partner Network. Want to talk to a specific CISO? We’ll open the door for you.

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    Deepen your R&D

    Work with field-leading researchers from Deakin University, whose tech and discipline-specific expertise will help tap your true potential.

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    Enjoy full partner support

    Access all the support you need. Our partners offer the full extent of their combined resources to every program participant.

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    Take it to the world

    Embark on a structured trip to Israel for a broader perspective on the cyber security landscape, and finish up in the USA, the heartland of security innovation and fast-growth startups.

Mentors

Tony Smales

Tony Smales

Tony Smales is the driving force behind Forticode. Tony created Forticode when he recognized the world was becoming more connected, more technology dependent and thoroughly compromised. He has an honours degree in computer science, specializing in Artificial Intelligence.

Michelle Price

Michelle Price

Michelle, who’s COO of the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network, has a wealth of public sector security experience. With the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet she held Senior Adviser roles in National Security Policy and Planning and Domestic Cyber Policy, before becoming Senior Adviser, Cyber Security at ANU’s National Security College.

Jeff Paine

Jeff Paine

Jeff’s the Cofounder and Managing Director of ResponSight, which is rethinking how security breaches are detected in the enterprise with the help of behavioural analytics. He recently raised over $1 million to grow ResponSight into a global company. Jeff’s long history of Founder and Advisor roles developed his passion for leadership — and for cyber security.

Casey Ellis

Casey Ellis

Casey is the Cofounder and CEO at security services marketplace Bugcrowd, having been working in the cyber security space since 2001. He’s founded and worked as Director and CSO at a number of enterprise and security-focused businesses while simultaneously mentoring others through Pushstart, the Tall Poppy Group — and now CyRise.

Leni Mayo

Leni Mayo

Leni’s focus on early stage startups has included seed investment in Hired, 99Designs, Flippa, and Sitepoint. He's now CEO and founder of Influx. In his "downtime", Leni is Cofounder and Chairman of Startup Victoria and an Advisory Board Member for the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Accelerator Program.

Nick Crocker

Nick Crocker

Having founded and run Sessions (sold to MyFitnessPal), Nick's passion for getting new projects up and running drew him to investment. Today he's a Partner at BlackBird Ventures and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Startmate.

Eloise Watson

Eloise Watson

Eloise’s history in the financial services sector has culminated in her role as Investment Manager with Rampersand, a Melbourne-based Venture Capital fund with a $50 million fund to invest. She’s also a mentor with Startmate and previously co-founded Engage Education Foundation, a social enterprise in which she still is actively involved as Chairman.

Peter Huynh

Peter Huynh

Before co-founding Qualgro, which has raised funds of more than $50 million and made 14 investments, Peter cofounded and was Director at both Optus Innov8 and Singtel Group Digital Life. Today, Qualgro focuses its investments in health, education, communication, cyber security and financial technology — sectors Peter and his partners see as critical to the growth of the Asia Pacific region.

Craig Davies

Craig Davies

CEO of the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network, which focuses on helping Australia become a global cyber security leader, Craig’s also Advisor for both Bugcrowd and Secure Code Warrior. He’s held CSO and Director of Security roles with Cochlear and Atlassian respectively.

Gus Balbontin

Gus Balbontin

Former CTO of Lonely Planet, Gus has since held advisory Board roles for initiatives like travel-data analysis service Volantino, and pre-paid data roaming provider DataGO. Today he’s Director of management consultancy The Roshambo Group, helping businesses grow and innovate, and co-founder of Sneaky Surf, an app that helps surfers surf more.

Alex Holmes

Alex Holmes

Alex is currently CMO at Influx where he developed the brand and global go-to-market strategy. He previously built a marketing team at Envato and founded Y Audience, the first transparent audience targeting platform for advertisers.

Pete Cameron

Pete Cameron

Pete is CEO of Avalanche Technology Group and a Venture Partner at the Giant Leap Fund, Australia's first VC fund dedicated to investing into “impact businesses”. He is an active angel investor with over 15 investments in early stage businesses and venture funds. Pete previously founded, owned and was CEO of the APAC business for AVG Technologies, which he exited in 2012.

Debra Bordignon

Debra Bordignon

CTO of Dimension Data Group Australia, Debra leads the strategy for the group regarding future technologies, offerings and partnerships. Debra was previously at Hewlett Packard, where she was Chief Technologist, Innovation Leader for the APJ office of the CTO, and Leader – Innovation and Industry Initiatives for HP’s Enterprise Services division.

Didier Elzinga

Didier Elzinga

CEO/CO-Founder of Culture AMP, Didier has now raised over $30 million, grown Culture Amp to 125+ people in 4 offices and already boasts over 1000 customers globally. He’s also a non-executive Director of the Atlassian Foundation, and on the board of Rising Sun Research.

Craig Mcdonald

Craig Mcdonald

Craig’s been CEO of MailGuard, the world’s largest privately owned cloud email and web security provider, since 2001. He’s also Founder CEO at BlackEvents, the isayso and CCRM salesforce.com apps, and Sidearm Café.

Alan Downie

Alan Downie

Alan was Cofounder and CEO of Macropod Software, creators of Bugherd, as well as cofounding UsabilityHub and Headstart. He’s a Partner at Startmate, and has mentored countless startups there and at MAP.

Rod Cuthbert

Rod Cuthbert

Back in 1995, Rod founded online sightseeing and tour research and booking service Viator. The business was sold to TripAdvisor for $200 million in 2014, after Rod had worked there as Chairman and CEO for 15 years. Today he’s Executive Chairman of Rome2rio — another startup combining technology and travel in unique ways.

Leslie Barry

Leslie Barry

Leslie was Founding Partner of GetViable, an online innovation platform acquired in 2014 by Big Colours in Hong Kong, and since then his focus has remained squarely on the innovation space. He’s worked as Head of Innovation with both ThoughtWorks and Sportsbet, and advised and mentored in numerous startup accelerators in the Asia Pacific region.

Doug English

Doug English

Doug’s founding role in Culture AMP in 2010 wasn’t his first. He’d already founded startup Jodoro in 2009 after a career that included technology roles with the National Australia Bank and EDS. Today, he’s VP of Engineering with Culture AMP, overseeing an ever-growing team of talented engineers.

Mick Liubinskas

Mick Liubinskas

Over the last 18 years Mick has co-founded 12 tech startups, as well as cofounding Pollenizer with Phil Morle and being co-founding investor of Startmate. His greatest successes have been travel-service provider Flightfox, where he was an investor and advisor; Pollenizer, where he was Cofounder and CEO, and which he grew to $3m in revenue; and Spreets, where he was an investor and advisor, and which sold to Yahoo for ~$40m in 13 months.

Michael Cameron

Michael Cameron

Cofounder and CEO of unique travel-focused startup Rome2rio, Michael was previously a Senior Software Development Lead with Microsoft and a cross-departmental Research Associate at Monash University. He earned his PhD on genomic search algorithms at RMIT.

Alfred Lo

Alfred Lo

Alfred is the Investor-in-Residence at Australia’s leading deep technology incubator Cicada Innovations. Formerly Head of AMP New Ventures, AMP’s local and international corporate venture capital program, he also co-founded and led Singtel Innov8’s investment activities through Optus-Innov8 in Australia. If you think he looks familiar, that’s probably because Alfred was named one of Australia’s Top 50 startup influencers by Startup Daily.

Adrian Stone

Adrian Stone

Three-time CEO Adrian cofounded and lead AngelCube, Australia’s first venture accelerator, which made investments in 31 local startups. Today he’s Founding Chairman of Investors’ Organisation, Australia’s leading forum for investors focused on tech startups.

Vijay Chakravarthy

Vijay Chakravarthy

Vijay’s a National Security Architect at Dimension Data — the latest in a long line of security-focused architect and engineering roles that have seen him work across research, risk, and solutions design for businesses including Datacraft (now Dimension Data) and CA technologies. In his current role, Vijay has been responsible for transformational projects that move clients to the next level of security — often by successfully integrating the services of innovative vendors.

James Cameron

James Cameron

Fresh from a four-year stint as Vice President of Accel Partners in London, James is a Partner at AirTree Ventures, which has raised more than $306 million to find growth and scale-up-stage software companies. His focus is on enterprise software and cybersecurity, and before joining Airtree he covered Israel for Accel and worked with several of their cybersecurity investments including Forgerock, Aorato, Demisto and Crowdstrike. James is also the founder of Bipsync - a West Coast based and venture backed fintech startup.

Nick Ellsmore

Nick Ellsmore

Nick is Co-Founder of Hivint and cybersecurity collaboration portal Security Colony, as well as an Advisor to Bugcrowd. Previously Nick was co-founder of cyber-security firms SIFT and Stratsec, sold to BAE Systems in 2010, followed by a stint as a corporate adviser focused on the cybersecurity industry. He has served on boards and forums including the Internet Industry Association, the NATA AAC for Software Testing, UNSW Advisory Boards, and the APEC TEL Security & Prosperity Steering Group.

Craig Searle

Craig Searle

Craig is the Chief Apiarist and Co-Founder of Hivint and cybersecurity collaboration portal Security Colony. Prior to this, Craig ran the cybersecurity division in APAC for BAE Systems Applied Intelligence and was the Chief Operating Officer for Stratsec. A self-professed “security nerd” Craig has presented at tech-focussed security conferences in the US, Asia and Australia, and has been a member of a number of benchmark development teams for the Centre for Internet Security (CIS).

Ulric Ferner

Ulric Ferner

Ulric is on the investment team at Right Click Capital, a VC fund that invests in technology businesses with global ambitions. He has deep product expertise in cybersecurity and algorithms, and has done product development at a number of startups. He did his Ph.D. in Computer Science at MIT in Boston and is an alumni of BCG. For kicks, he has a few patents and loves coming up with creative tests for product/market fit.

Partners

dimension data

Dimension Data

Dimension Data uses the power of technology to help organisations achieve great things in the digital era. As a member of the NTT Group, we accelerate our clients’ ambitions through digital infrastructure, hybrid cloud, workspaces for tomorrow, and cybersecurity. With a turnover of USD 7.5 billion, offices in 58 countries, and 31,000 employees, we deliver wherever our clients are, at every stage of their technology journey.

deakin university

Deakin University

Cyber security is a field of excellence for Deakin.

With CyRise, the university can apply its commitment to research to generating real economic growth.

One of a new breed of global universities that are agile, dynamic and innovative, Deakin educates over 50,000 students across five campuses.

About CyRise

CyRise is on a mission to be the number one cyber security accelerator in the Asia-Pacific region. Based in Melbourne, we’re a partnership between Deakin, Dimension Data and LaunchVic that’s dedicated to supporting the local ecosystem for the long term.

What We Are Looking For

Machine Learning

Projects targeted at malicious activity like phishing, malware, and anomaly detection are strong candidates for our program. So are solutions focused on data lake mining and processing, and multi-modal security.

Human-centric Security

Human-centric security is a particular interest for us, including HCI; solutions that use data to profile and mitigate human behaviors; multilevel, contextual applications and development models that assist with security solution acceptance.

Convergence of OT & IT with Security

If your idea sits at the intersection of OT, IT and security — Detect & Respond functionality that’s independent of legacy platforms, for example — we want to hear about it.

Data Management and Data Privacy

We’re interested in solutions that help organisations expediently identify, classify, prioritise and secure data, as well as applications that create secure data flow pathways and strengthen data privacy.

Next Generation Security Testing

If your vulnerability identification and managment solution or service combines penetration testing, regulatory and compliance reporting or other in-demand services to address evolving corporate and regulatory needs, we’d love to talk with you.

Your Idea

As the cyber security landscape evolves, market needs will too. Whatever your idea focuses on — cryptography, blockchain, malware detection, you name it — we want to hear from you.

Meet The Team

Scott Handsaker

Scott Handsaker

CEO

Scott’s a serial founder who’s been helping to drive Melbourne’s startup ecosystem for many years. Since 2008 he's been Cofounder and CEO for Eventarc and Attendly, as well as cofounding Startup Victoria, the biggest founder-focused non-profit in the country. He also spent five years as a mentor and member of the investment committee for Angelcube, Melbourne’s first venture accelerator.

Alan Dee

Alan Dee

Partnerships Manager

Since 2005, Alan has been a serial entrepreneur and supporter of the Australian startup community. In that time he has founded five startups, mentored in several hackathons and was Program Leader for the Startup Leadership Program. Alan holds a Masters Degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Swinburne, is cofounder & CEO of Moonshot and a mentor in the La Trobe University Accelerator.

Alcy Meehan

Alcy Meehan

Events and Community Manager

Alcy is in her final year of an undergraduate degree at Deakin University. Studying a Bachelor of Psychology and Media Studies she is undertaking an internship with CyRise to further develop her skills and gain valuable insight into the Australian startup community. If you attend one of our events, there is a good chance it was put together by Alcy!

Ben Spincer

Ben Spincer

Advisor

Since 2015, Ben’s worked as Director Research – Commercial at Deakin University, a role that follows Directorships in Technology, Strategy and Innovation, and Investor Relations with Telstra. He’s also worked with the likes of Credit Suisse and Informa as part of a career that’s focused heavily on technology strategy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

As well as giving you $50,000 at the start of the program we'll also fund your trip to Israel. One founder from each successful team will join us in Israel for 7-10 days as part of a structured events program. If your co-founder wants to come as well we would love that, but your startup would need to cover that cost (around $5k).

At the end of the program, we will lead a trip to the US so you can make connections with investors, founders and customers. You will need to cover your own costs and you should expect it to be far less structured than the Israeli component. The US trip is more about helping you with acquisition, so be prepared to hustle.

Applications open on the 11th of July 2017. Applications will close on September 24th, and the successful teams will be expected to be available to start in mid October 2017. The program will finish in April 2018.

You get $50,000 if you are successful in being selected. There are no strings tied to that money and it will not be tranched.

The funding is given as part of a capped SAFE note. You can read more about SAFE notes here. A SAFE note is generally considered to be lightweight and founder friendly.

CyRise aims to help boost diversity and inclusivity in the cyber security field. So we want to do everything we can to help you be successful. If you identify as coming from a group that's been underrepresented in technology, please contact us.

As a first step, we invite you to book a 30 minute meeting with our CEO Scott Handsaker who can help with your application. We will then connect you with mentors and others in our network who will do everything they can to maximise your chances of being selected for the program.

It’s hard to describe everything about the program on a website, so we always encourage people who are interested to talk to us first. Book a 30 minute meeting with our CEO Scott Handsaker and talk it through with us. Meetings can be conducted by whatever means of communication you feel comfortable with.

Great founders come in all shapes and sizes, so we try not to have too many preconceived ideas of what you will be like. We do admit to having a preference for teams with at least two founders, however it is not a hard and fast rule. If you are an amazing single founder with a great security startup, we would love to hear from you.

The only unbreakable rule is that all teams must have technical skills. Your founding team must be able to build their own technology, as we don’t believe that outsourcing your product is the path to success.

Yes! In fact we are keen to attract teams from all over the Asia-Pacific region. You will have to commit to being in Melbourne for the duration of the program.