Texas university launches security tech incubator

Institute for Cyber Security's incubator at University of Texas at San Antonio to initially help start-ups focused on protecting companies from Web application attacks and threats with using online mashups.

The University of Texas at San Antonio launched a new incubator that will help commercialize security technologies.

Ravi Ganesan, head of the incubator at the Institute for Cyber Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Cyber Security

The Institute for Cyber Security's (ICS) new incubator will provide start-ups access to seed capital, business advise, and office space and infrastructure on the campus. It is getting $5.5 million in funding from the state of Texas.

The first two start-ups being incubated are Denim Labs, which developed technology that protects PHP-based Web sites against certain types of intrusions, and SafeMashups, which enables Web mashup applications to authenticate with each other before exchanging data.

The ICS also has ongoing projects dealing with combating botnets and social network privacy that could eventually turn into start-ups, said Ravi Ganesan, who runs the incubator.

"San Antonio has the second-highest concentration of intelligence and classified work after Washington, D.C., and a large military presence," he said. "The goal is to...make San Antonio a go-to place for entrepreneurs and jobs."

With the economy in decline and venture capital money getting scarcer, the incubator can give security start-ups the help they need to get off the ground, said Ganesan.

"It feels like 2002 all over again," said Ganesan, who previously ran security at Verizon and co-founded TriCipher along with ICS head Ravi Sandhu. "The advantage we bring to the table is we lived through 2002. We know how to lie low and wait for the VCs to bring capital."

Rebecca Bace, a venture consultant for Trident Capital who formerly headed intrusion detection research at the NSA and is chief executive of the Infidel consultancy, agreed. "It's an appropriate time and actually fills a niche in the market for trying to foster new ideas in security," she said.

 

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