Building A Cybersecurity Eco-System


IMPROVING cybersecurity is a clear priority for many countries invested in global businesses.

Cyberhackers are targeting sectors like banking, healthcare, shipping, retail, education and even religious institutions to steal data. Simply put, as long as any entity has a large database of information about people, it is a potential target for cyberhackers.

This indicates that governments also have to be proactive about developing capabilities in cybersecurity.

By some estimates, cybersecurity is a US$100 billion plus business and growing.

As such, it is not surprising that Singapore is recognised as a hub for research and development in cybersecurity.

To this end, the Singapore government has announced that more than S$16 million will be invested to strengthen Singapore’s cyber-security research and development.

Safety Projects

The Straits Times reported that nine research projects were granted funding of $15.6 million under a grant call by the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme, which was set up in November last year to develop capabilities to meet Singapore’s cybersecurity needs.

Another $600,000 was awarded to six projects under a seed grant call by the Singapore Cybersecurity Consortium, which was launched in September last year. This funding goes to proposals for proof-of-concepts of new cybersecurity technologies and ideas.

With these developments, an ecosystem to tackle cybersecurity is gradually building in the city state.

One of the tools that could potentially be used to address cybersecurity problems is deep technology, which is typically about solving core societal or environmental challenges using technology.

In March last year, it was announced that, with the help of a few partners, Spring Singapore will support deep technology start-ups that work in cleantech, renewable energy, agricultural technology, advanced manufacturing, advanced materials and process engineering, and the internet-of-things (IOT). You would expect cybersecurity to be at the core of such initiatives.

New Investment Opportunities

Among other things, such developments also represent investment potential and institutional investors, family offices and high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are showing interest. Traditional assets that they used to plough their money into, like physical property are becoming harder to find and there is also a feeling that valuations have topped out in many global markets after the prolonged and continuing period of low interest rates.

However, there is a lot of complexity in the diverse expanse of the technological space and some guidance and experience is needed to sift through the complexities.

Companies have emerged that try to get people to understand what is happening in the technology ecosystem and facilitate investments in the space. The success of technology start-ups is difficult to predict, and investors need all the help they can get to evaluate their options and make investment decisions.

STORM.SG recently met one such player now in Singapore that seeks to help investors deal with the complexity, namely CerraCap Ventures. It is a Silicon Valley-based global fund that is dedicated to early stage technology investments. One of its major thrusts is to seek out and invest in start-ups that are engaged in cybersecurity.

For investors, making the decision to invest in a technology fund can be very challenging if you are new to the scene.

One of the truisms of investment is to never invest in something that you do not understand.

This certainly holds true for burgeoning technology start-ups. You could argue that investors have to be more sophisticated and be able to take a longer-term stance when they engage with such investments.

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This ostensibly puts institutional investors, family offices and HNWIs in the fore and retail investors in the back seat. However, the technology space is developing so quickly that everyone seems to be equally “blur” about what is going on at this stage, not counting those who have spent time in the technology space as well as those who are involved in start-ups.

This suggests that the entire spectrum of investors, from institutional to retail, have to get to know the people who market themselves as experts in cutting down the noise in the technology ecosystem. This will take time, and the early movers will logically see the biggest benefits.

But that is likely only if they understand the space and choose their investments well.

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