Cyber security startup Cynch Security has secured just over $200,000 in government and matched funding, for a project mapping challenges for small business, and figuring out how to solve them.
The funding is made up of $109,969 from the AustCyber Projects Fund for backing industry-led projects, matched with $100,000 from industry.
AustCyber awarded a total of $8.5 million to 10 projects, each designed to tackle a particular issue in cybersecurity.
In Cynch’s case, the funding will be put towards a project in conjunction with Deakin University, researching the cyber security challenges SMEs and micro-businesses face, and how the startup can help them with those.
“It’s about measuring, but also proving that there are solutions out there,” co-founder and chief Susie Jones told SmartCompany.
Founded in 2017 by Jones and co-founder Adam Selwood, Cynch launched in April last year.
Jones doesn’t reveal the revenues the startup has seen since then, but she does say the business now has more than 130 businesses using its tech.
“We’re expecting to at least quadruple that this year,” she says.
“A very big problem”
This funding is a win for Cynch; something Jones says will help its platform scale, allowing it to help “thousands of small businesses instead of hundreds”.
But, it also shows the government is taking security for small business seriously, Jones says.
“One of the things that has been really clear to us … is the lack of research and investment that has gone into small business cyber security,” she explains.
“This shows a real commitment to reversing that.”
The idea is to first understand, then improve things for small business owners, she adds.
These businesses face the same threats as large organisations, but without the resources to manage them.
“They don’t have anyone to turn to,” Jones says.
“It can become a very big problem for them very quickly.”
Women in cyber tech
Of the 10 projects to secure funding, two are from women-led startups.
HackHunter, part of Serinus Security and headed up by co-founder and chief Tracie Thompson, has also secured a total of $535,000 for R&D and data analysis, to improve its tech identifying malicious Wi-Fi trends.
It’s not the 50/50 split that would be ideal, but Jones says it is relatively representative of the number of cyber security startups out there that are founded by women.
“There’s not that many of us out there,” she notes.
“But, I think the fact that it’s a representative split shows a really good sign that the businesses we’re producing and the problems we’re solving are just as significant and just as successful as those of men.”
The cyber security industry is a tight-knit one, and while it may be 80% men, it’s generally a welcoming space for women.
“It’s definitely an industry where women can thrive.”