What Problem Does SixThirty CYBER Help Solve?

“Cyber security is the biggest risk facing the financial system,” said the chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently. Her statement followed one by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence ranking cyber crime as the No.1 national security threat, ahead of terrorism, espionage and weapons of mass destruction. And the World Economic Forum (WEF) lists cyber security as one of the greatest threats to business around the world in 2016, above food crises, interstate conflict, terrorist attacks and spread of infection disease.

That said, business and government leaders are striving to innovate and to identify ways to protect themselves from cyber threats, while entrepreneurs struggle to access these leaders to whom they could communicate, share and sell their solutions. SixThirty CYBER can help bridge that divide – vetting, coaching and then supporting the entrepreneur to be successful in generating sales.

How does SixThirty CYBER solve that problem?

SixThirty CYBER provides companies with mentoring and money, but more importantly, introduces them to some of their best customer prospects, corporate or government.  Further, we can plug them into an ecosystem that has their success aligned with the success of others – whether providing Endpoint Security on a corporate campus, Data Center Security to a HealthCare Provider, or Mobile Security to a Federal Agency’s external bank examiners or Cloud Security for sensitive military operations.  Security professionals know that they have to be right 100% of the time, while cyber criminals have only to be right once.  SixThirty CYBER works to build relationships, alignment and success for the long term.

How is SixThirty CYBER different than other accelerator programs?

We don’t consider SixThirty CYBER to be an ‘accelerator’. SixThirty CYBER’s program is focused on business development. The startups that come through our program are typically later seed stage. They have working products, a great team, and are starting to gain customer traction. During the program, we introduce companies to potential customers, decision makers, and influencers within some of the top financial services companies in the country.

Why St. Louis?

Many people recognize that St. Louis is one of the largest financial services hubs outside of New York. It’s home to Edward Jones, Scottrade, Stifel Nicolaus, MasterCard, UMB Bank, Thomson Reuters, Commerce Bank, U.S. Bank CDC, and Wells Fargo Advisors, but Cyber Security is critical to other sectors for which St. Louis is home like Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS), and healthcare IT giants like Centene, BJC and Express Scripts. SixThirty CYBER connects the dots within St. Louis region to access the business, intelligence & military community CISOs locally, and then accesses the broader Federal agency and GSE leadership in D.C., of behalf of its cohort.  In addition, St. Louis boasts one of the most dynamic, explosive startup communities in the country.

How many companies do you accept into the program?

We typically only accept 6-8 companies per year into the program.

Do you sign NDAs?

Each year, we’ll see hundreds of applications and many of them include similar ideas. For this and other practical reasons, we don’t sign NDAs. Our application does not ask for your secret sauce, and there is no reason you have to disclose this to us if you’re not comfortable doing so.

How much equity do you take?

The funding we put into our startups (up to $250K) is typically an equity investment. Unlike other accelerators, our stake in the company is negotiable – we find that this flexibility is in the best interest of our fund and for the startups we invest in.

How will the funding be distributed?

The funding we put into our startups will be distributed in two tranches: one tranche at the beginning of the program and a second tranche towards the end of the program.

What types of companies do you fund?

We’re looking for Cyber Security startups who are providing solutions and products across the broad following areas:

System Security like: Infrastructure, Network (Firewalls, VPN, IPS/IDS, DDOS Prevention), Endpoint Security (Next Gen AV, Patching, Encryption), Data Center, Mobile, Cloud, IOT and Critical Infrastructure, Software, Application (App Testing, Code Review / Testing),  and Web Security.

Other areas like Governance, Risk & Compliance, Incident Management, Security Operations & Intelligence, Crypto, Threat Intelligence Platforms and others.

Is my company at the right stage for SixThirty?

Like any diversified portfolio, each SixThirty class is unique and is usually composed of companies at different stages in the life cycle of a startup. That being said, we really do insist on investing in businesses with a working product. It’s okay if your business isn’t generating revenue yet (although it doesn’t hurt your chances if it is), but we prefer to see companies that are at the business development stage of the startup life cycle.

What if I already went through another program?

No problem. Accelerators have become terrifically successful hacks for growth, and they range across development stages. Several of our portfolio companies have been through other programs internationally before joining SixThirty, and still found the experience valuable. Our focus is on connecting Cyber Security companies with potential customers and partners, which is different than many other programs. Chances are that there will be little overlap.

Do you accept startups with a lone (just one) founder?

We look for great, balanced teams who have a full range of skills. We strongly advise you to seek co-founders who balance your skillset. For example, if you’re a business development guru, you might consider adding someone with technical expertise.

Do I need to send you a business plan?

Business plans are for the birds. Traction and impressive resumes are more enticing to us as investors than a fancy business plan. If you’d like to apply, submit an application online.

Do you only accept startups located in the Midwest?

We accept applications from all over the world.

Do I have to relocate to St. Louis?

Selected founding teams (the whole company does not have to relocate) will have to be in St. Louis for SixThirty CYBER programming and the time we spend in D.C. We meet as a group for a week at the beginning, and then it reduces significantly. Typically it’s two days in a month (a Monday afternoon and Tuesday) during the program, but we recommend that you allow some extra time in St. Louis to meet with potential customers, partners and mentors. St. Louis has a ton to offer startups, so if you want to stay, we’d love to have you. While SixThirty CYBER does not provide housing, we can connect you with discounts and resources to help you find the right accommodations for you.

What type of programming do you offer?

The focus of our program is business development. SixThirty CYBER invests in Information Security companies with working products, so the type of value-added programming we seek to offer is based around the typical issues for companies at this stage, which include marketing, branding / positioning, sales / pipeline management, and fundraising.

What does a typical week look like during the program?

On average, after the first week is over, we only have formal programming two days per month (usually on Monday afternoons and Tuesday mornings). This allows the companies in our cohort to focus on the things they need to focus on.

During our regular monthly meetings, companies report out their accomplishments from the previous month and their action plans for the following one. The companies also identify areas in which they need help, or people or organizations they need introductions to. Afterwards, the companies meet individually with their lead mentors for a deeper dive into their activities and issues that week.

Toward the beginning of the program, the companies are introduced to potential customers, decision makers and influencers within the Cyber Security product purchasing process or for other strategic reasons.

What else can I expect from the program?

On occasion, we will schedule happy hours and other networking opportunities with the Security Advisors Alliance, our network of mentors, or a casual get-together with the other members of the cohort.

Has SixThirty had any exits?

Yes— SixThirty FinTech portfolio company Upside, was acquired by Envestnet in February 2015, approximately one year from graduation.  More importantly, considering the length of the venture funds operation, only one company out of 23 investments is no longer in business.

Do you offer any perks?

Like most accelerators, joining our portfolio comes with a plethora of perks, including, but not limited to, pro-bono and discounted legal and accounting services, Amazon Web Services credits, and co-working office space in the T-REX tech startup incubator.

Where can I ask more questions?

If you aren’t finding the answer you need, please send us a message through our contact page.

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