Cybersecurity accelerator to start in Herndon
A new organization focused on promoting the creation of cybersecurity companies is kicking off this month in Northern Virginia.
The MACH37 Cybersecurity Accelerator plans to hold two 90-day sessions a year with eight to 10 companies per session at the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) in Herndon. The first session will be held this month. Companies accepted into the program receive an initial $25,000 investment.
During the program, participants will meet national experts in areas ranging from energy to financial services and homeland security. At the end of the program participants will make presentations to a group of potential investors, says Peter Jobse, CIT’s president and CEO.
Once participants complete the program, MACH37 receives 7 percent equity in the companies. “We do that because we want to demonstrate we are just as committed to the success of the company as the entrepreneur is,” Jobse says.
Companies that deliver a successful “demo day” presentation will qualify for a $100,000 investment from the CIT GAP Fund that can be leveraged to secure additional investor participation.
Jobse says MACH37 is different from other business accelerators because of its focus on cybersecurity. The organization has been careful to develop a network of highly regarded cybersecurity experts, he says.
“When you look at the value to entrepreneurs, it becomes apparent that if an organization can deliver, in day one of a program, relationships or introductions to relationships that will buy or validate your product, that’s a huge step forward in company development,” Jobse says.
CIT has outfitted a space for the accelerator in its building, including an open area for collaboration, a small stage where entrepreneurs can present pitches, and office space for partners.
Although MACH37 is recruiting nationally, Jobse expects the first participating companies to come from Virginia and nearby states because it takes time to build a reputation on a national scale. Companies accepted into the accelerator agree to have a significant portion of their business in Virginia, Jobse says.