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Reuters | Investment firm to fuse startup culture with U.S. intelligence complex

  |   Entrepreneur Resources, The Latest



A Silicon Valley venture capitalist, an ex-Navy SEAL and a former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officer have banded together to form a company to fund and incubate startups that can break ground on cyber security and intelligence gathering.


The company, DataTribe, seeks to fuse aspects of a venture capital firm and startup incubator, with leaders who are well-connected to the nation’s intelligence complex. It was launched on Tuesday, with offices in both Silicon Valley and Maryland, outside the nation’s capital.

While DataTribe is as yet untested, it launches at a critical time. New and more sophisticated attacks continue to threaten businesses and government agencies, but funding for early-stage cyber startups from traditional venture capital sources is challenging.

Finding sufficient cyber security expertise – in both company investors and founders – in Silicon Valley has also been difficult.

DataTribe will license technology created by the national laboratories or government intelligence agencies and build new startups around that technology. It will also provide those startups with an operating team of executives and an initial investment of up to $1.5 million.

According to DataTribe co-founder Robert Ackerman, the federal government has some of the most sophisticated cyber security and intelligence gathering technology, and Washington is home to some of the most skilled cyber experts.

But the startup culture, he said, can do a more efficient job of scaling that technology and selling it for commercial use.

“(Cyber security) is an arms race,” Ackerman said in an interview. “And when you are in an arms race, you are looking for any kind of competitive advantage you can get.”

Ackerman is founder and a managing director of Allegis Capital, a 20-year-old Silicon Valley venture firm that invests in cyber security startups. He cofounded DataTribe with Mike Janke, a former member of the Navy’s SEAL Team Six and co-founder of mobile security company Silent Circle; and Steven Witt, who worked for the CIA and co-founded Onyara, a startup based on technology developed by the National Security Agency.

DataTribe aims to take advantage of technology already developed, tested and used by the government. It will use open-source technology or license it from the national labs, the NSA, law enforcement and even foreign intelligence agencies, Ackerman said.

Among the first to receive funding is Dragos, a cyber security startup comprised of former NSA intelligence officers that offers security solutions for the control systems of critical infrastructure, such as a power grid.


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Allegis Capital, Leading Early Stage Cybersecurity Venture Investor, Becomes a Strategic Partner of DataTribe

  |   Allegis News, The Latest


Venture Firm Catalyzes Development and Growth of DataTribe Startups

PALO ALTO, Calif., July 26, 2016 –  Allegis Capital, a seed and early stage two-decade-old venture capital firm focused on cybersecurity and analytics, announced today that it has become a strategic partner of DataTribe, a unique “startup studio” formed to create and grow technology startups by leveraging the most advanced technologies forged by U.S. government R&D projects.

Robert Ackerman Jr., the founder and a managing director of Allegis, is also one of three co-founders and directors of DataTribe. DataTribe is co-headquartered in Fulton, Md., in the Washington D.C. Beltway, and in Silicon Valley.

DataTribe is drawing upon the Beltway and Silicon Valley to build new companies at the cutting edge of innovation in cybersecurity, data and analytics. The Beltway has 3.5 times as many cybersecurity engineers as the rest of the country combined according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The region has a minimal startup ecosystem, however. Its ties to Allegis Capital and the Silicon Valley venture ecosystem are intended to close that gap.

About DataTribe

DataTribe will co-create, develop the focus and strategy of two to three startups annually, refine their execution and hand-pick their entrepreneurial teams, primarily from the ranks of engineers working on successful government R&D projects. The foundations upon which startups will be based will be sizable government R&D projects, often conducted in national laboratories, which have been implemented, tested and validated.

DataTribe will then license and commercialize this technology, develop it via open source or turn to highly select engineering teams to transform the technology into commercial applications.

In addition, the startups will follow leadership precepts developed by the Navy’s elite Seal Team 6 to develop an intimate understanding of asymmetric engagement with commercial adversaries, enabling them to more effectively overcome the challenges startups typically face.

When DataTribe-backed startups become ready for Series A venture financing, Allegis is likely to become one of their investors.

DataTribe Strategic Partners

Allegis has joined a small team of additional strategic partners, including Deloitte, the prominent financial consulting firm and Yahoo Japan. The partners’ own business demands require operating at the forefront of innovation in cybersecurity, data and analytics. They will work with DataTribe executives to help evaluate potential startup market opportunities and provide “go-to-market” validation and product roadmaps. They will also help startups recruit key executives.

Allegis, in particular, will support all aspects of the development and growth of DataTribe startups.

“DataTribe represents an opportunity for us to leverage our 20 years of start-up expertise, deep market knowledge and extended Silicon Valley networks to leverage world-class expertise resulting from government R&D in its areas of focus to create disruptive start-ups in cybersecurity data and analytics,” said Spencer Tall, Allegis Managing Director. “The breadth and depth of DataTribe’s expertise in select areas of government R&D will be unparalleled.”

DataTribe has three co-founders and directors. In addition to Ackerman, they are Mike Janke, founder and former CEO of Silent Circle, a leading secure communications service, and a former member of Navy Seal Team 6; and Steve Witt, the co-founder and former CEO of Onyara, the commercial developer of the Apache NiFi, a high-level open source project originated at the NSA, and a former CIA information technology officer.


DataTribe is a “startup studio” formed to create and help build technology startups focused on breakthrough innovation in cybersecurity, data and analytics. Co-based in Fulton, Maryland and Silicon Valley, DataTribe operates at the forefront of emerging commercial market needs by leveraging advanced research and applied development efforts from U.S. and aligned government labs in combination with Silicon Valley experience and networks to create cutting-edge startups. The goal of these startups is to define and lead new market segments. For more information, visit

Allegis Capital

Allegis Capital is a seed and early-stage venture capital investor in companies building disruptive and innovative cyber security solutions for the global digital economy. Founded in 1996, the firm has more than $700 million in capital under management and has been active in cyber security investing since 2000. Allegis cybersecurity investments include SYNACK, CyberGRX, Platfora, Shape Security, vArmour and Red Owl, Area 1 Security, E8 Security, Bracket Computing, IronPort Systems and Solera Networks. For more information, visit

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VentureBeat | Workday acquires big data analytics company Platfora

  |   Portfolio News, The Latest


By:  Jordan Novet  |  July 21, 2016

Publicly traded human capital management software company Workday today announced that it has acquired Platfora, a startup that built software for cleaning up and analyzing big data. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Above: Platfora employees participate in a Ragnar Relay Race in 2015.

Image Credit: Platfora

“The acquisition will enable Workday to continually enhance our analytics capabilities — especially areas like managerial reporting and operational analytics where insights are gathered by collecting and connecting multiple data sources (Workday and non-Workday data) to make business decisions,” Workday said in a statement on the deal. “Customers want to drill down to transaction-level data and analyze it across multiple dimensions for calculating profitability, ROI, and other operational metrics.”

Platfora offered companies a way to do business intelligence on top of data stored in the Hadoop open source big data software. Platfora inked partnerships with the Hadoop distribution companies Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR. Competitors include Clearstory Data and Datameer, among others.

The rise of Hadoop over the years caused legacy business intelligence software providers to add support for Hadoop as Platfora and others picked up adoption.

This deal follows Workday’s acquisition of online learning platform Zaption last month.

Last year Platfora founder Ben Werther stepped down as the company’s chief executive; SAP veteran Jason Zintak replaced him.

Platfora’s investors include Allegis Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Cisco, In-Q-Tel, and Sutter Hill Ventures. As of last year Platfora had 130 employees. Customers include Citi, Disney, Sears, and Volkswagen Group. The Platfora team will remain in its headquarters in San Mateo, California.

Workday will provide more information about how it will integrate Platfora’s technology into its existing offerings at the Workday Rising conference in Chicago in September.

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WSJ | CyberGRX Emerges With $9M to Set Standards for Security Risks

  |   Portfolio News, Series A, The Latest

By Deborah Gage  |  July 14, 2016 7:30 a.m. ET


One of the hardest places for companies to protect from cyberattacks is the holes opened by companies closest to them—their partners, customers and vendors.

The most famous case may be Target Corp., which lost data on 40 million debit and credit accounts along with personal information for as many as 70 million customers after hackers penetrated its network in 2013 by stealing the credentials of a Target refrigeration contractor.

Target’s chief executive and its chief information officer resigned, and a proxy adviser, Institutional Shareholder Services, urged that seven of Target’s 10 board members be ousted for failing to protect the company.

In an effort to avoid similar problems and to set an industry standard for assessing security risks, venture capitalists and several large companies—some named and some not—have banded together to form CyberGRX, a startup that has been in the works for more than 18 months. GRX stands for Global Risk Exchange.

The Denver-based company has raised $9 million in a Series A round led by Allegis Capital and includes numerous other investors and advisers.

Some of them—including Aetna Chief Information Security Officer Jim Routh, MassMutual Chief Information Risk Officer Sri Dronamraju and Blackstone Chief Information Security Officer Jay Leek—are helping CyberGRX design a software platform and business processes that will guide companies in assessing their own security risks and the risks of their partners.

“If you’re shopping for a home, you can go to Zillow and there are countless homes, but you’re probably going to hire a home inspector to look at the piping and make sure there are no foundational issues,” said Chief Executive Fred Kneip, who previously headed security for the investment management firm Bridgewater Associates. “So let’s understand how you think about the core components of a cybersecurity program and its levels of maturity and effectiveness.”

Allegis Capital founder Bob Ackerman said he has been thinking about the problem since at least 2014 and couldn’t find companies on the market with a comprehensive enough approach. A Blackstone portfolio company, Optiv Security LLC, is also working on CyberGRX because its customers are concerned about third-party security risks, Mr. Ackerman said.

The challenge with current cybersecurity assessments is that they are labor-intensive, expensive and prone to disagreements over what questions should be asked and how they should be phrased, according to CyberGRX’s founders.


Photo: CyberGRX’s Fred Kneip.

Fortune 500 companies generally have thousands of partners and may only evaluate the most important ones, although “you don’t have to be a big partner to represent a significant cyberrisk,” Mr. Ackerman said.

Companies may be loath to admit they have risks. “If it’s self-reported, no one will say I don’t have [a password rotation policy],” said GV General Partner Karim Faris, an investor, although even asking the question can spark a company to get one.

Mr. Faris said CyberGRX’s success will depend on its ability to figure out the most effective set of questions that will work across a wide range of companies and balance those with on-site visits where inspectors know what to home in on.

Mr. Leek said CyberGRX relies on the strength of its relationships with chief information security officers at global companies who are collaborative, understand security risks and agree with CyberGRX’s approach.

CyberGRX expects to release a product in early 2017. Founders say a standard security assessment could provide a foundation for other industries, like cyber insurance.

Investors who participated in the funding include Blackstone, TenEleven Ventures, Rally Ventures, GV (formerly Google Ventures) and MassMutual Ventures along with several individuals and unnamed strategic investors.

Board members include Mr. Ackerman, Mr. Kneip, Mr. Leek, TenEleven Ventures founder Mark Hatfield, ClearSky Power & Technology Fund Managing Director Alex Weiss and Cylance CEO Stuart McClure.Logo_cyberGRX

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Third-Party Cyber Risk Management Platform Company CyberGRX Closes $9M Series A Funding

  |   Portfolio News, Series A, The Latest



Third-Party Cyber Risk Management Platform Company CyberGRX Closes $9M Series A Funding


Allegis Capital Leads Round with Participation from Major Cybersecurity Investors;
Platform Being Developed in Close Collaboration with Early Adopters at Leading Institutions


DENVER – July 14, 2016 – CyberGRX, provider of the most comprehensive third-party cyber risk management platform, today announced that it closed $9M in Series A funding led by Allegis Capital, with participation from Blackstone, TenEleven Ventures, Rally Ventures, GV (formerly Google Ventures), MassMutual Ventures and several other strategic investors. The company will use the funding to deliver the CyberGRX platform to market. The platform is developed in partnership with its early adopters, which include chief security and risk officers from Aetna, Blackstone, MassMutual and several other leading institutions across business sectors.

As enterprises’ dependence on their partner ecosystems grows, so does their exposure to breaches from these key vendors, partners and customers. A recent Ponemon Institute report, “ Data Risk in the Third-Party Ecosystem,” found that nearly half (49 percent) of all organizations had recently reported that they experienced a data breach caused by a vendor, and nearly three out of four (73 percent) enterprises expect third-party related incidents to increase. And the damage, both in terms of reputation and actual dollars and shareholder value lost, is real. A recent survey of 170 large enterprises by consulting firm Deloitte found that 28 percent of respondents had faced major business disruption due to third-party data breaches, and more than one in four (26 percent) organizations suffered reputational damage as a result. An astounding 87 percent of the enterprises surveyed admitted to “disruptive incidents” with third parties in the last 2-3 years. It is evident that boards, CEOs, business leaders, and risk and security managers need a better way to manage this exploding third-party cyber risk.

Despite this growing need, substantial inefficiencies continue to exist on both sides in the current approach. Enterprises focus the vast majority of their time collecting data, rather than performing risk management and mitigation processes to reduce the residual security risk third parties represent. At the same time, vendors and partners spend too much time, energy and money completing questionnaires and hosting on-site security assessments.

“CyberGRX is built by security practitioners who bring a risk-based perspective to security control assessment,” said Fred Kneip, CEO of CyberGRX. “CyberGRX helps enterprises not only automate and standardize the collection of information, but also prioritize, evaluate and remediate risk. Instead of incrementally improving what people do today, CyberGRX fundamentally changes the way organizations address cyber risk in an increasingly interdependent world.”

Commercially available in early 2017, CyberGRX provides the most comprehensive third-party cyber risk management platform, addressing existing inefficiencies and creating benefit for both enterprises and for their partners and vendors. Through its innovative design, automation and advanced analytics, the CyberGRX platform enables enterprises to cost-effectively and collaboratively identify, assess, mitigate and monitor an enterprise’s cyber risk exposure across its entire vendor, partner and customer ecosystem.

About CyberGRX

CyberGRX provides the most comprehensive third-party cyber risk management platform to cost-effectively identify, assess, mitigate and monitor an enterprise’s risk exposure across its entire partner ecosystem. Through automation and advanced analytics, the CyberGRX solution enables enterprises to collaboratively mitigate threats presented from their increasing interdependency on vendors, partners and customers. CyberGRX is based in Denver, CO with offices in McLean, VA. For more information, visit or follow @CyberGRX1 on Twitter.

Ted Weismann
fama PR for CyberGRX
(617) 986-5009

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SV Biz Journals | Funding sea change has pushed startups to new strategies and locations, VCs say

  |   Allegis News, The Latest

Funding sea change has pushed startups to new strategies and locations, VCs say

cromwell By: Cromwell Schubarth | TechFlash Editor – Silicon Valley Business Journal

Jul 7, 2016, 11:26am PDT  Updated Jul 7, 2016, 4:11pm PDT



Bain Capital Ventures partner Indy Guha said most of the companies he invests in don’t have engineering in the Bay Area anymore because it has become too expensive. They are now doing that part of their business in places like Canada, Russia, China, India and less expensive parts of the U.S. like Phoenix.TechFlash Editor Silicon Valley Business Journal

“The latest trend is that sales offices — which is the other big center of gravity for headcount in a hypergrowth company — are not in the Bay Area anymore,” he said at the Pitch event I moderated at Google. “You can get an inside sales rep for 50 grand fully loaded and ready in Phoenix, especially after all the layoffs at Zenefits. Or you can get that person for $120,000 in the Bay Area. Guess what? When you run the math on cost of customer acquisition, that makes a difference.”

The panel came as early data on first half and second quarter startup investments showed activity in the Bay Area continued at six-year lows and most top venture firms have done fewer deals.

Cybersecurity investor Bob Ackerman of Allegis Capital said the market is recalibrating and that has forced founders to take a closer look at costs.

“The last few years have been driven by autopilot and momentum and the ‘greater fool theory,’” he said. “People seemed to believe that things only move up and to the right. Everybody tried to index off of the unicorns. It was a totally distorted valuation environment. The bloom is off that rose and everything is recalibrating.”

Companies are going overseas and to other parts of the country, Ackerman said, not because they want to, but because that is where they are finding large pockets of talent at a reasonable price.

“What we don’t find is entrepreneurial DNA or product management DNA. Never heard of it,” he cautioned. “The challenge is that with that lower cost of doing business there are some compensating expenses. There are some things you have to bring to the table to build a viable company.”

Kristina Shen, vice president at Bessemer Venture Partners, said she hadn’t done a funding deal yet this year. Normally she does between two and four.

“We’ve been talking about a downturn for a really long time,” she said. “VCs encouraged entrepreneurs to raise early and make sure they have extra runway and that is what companies have done. Everyone loaded up the cash chest. So now it has been slow.”

The customers of her portfolio companies haven’t cut their spending and are still purchasing software, Shen said. “Nothing significant has changed, but the fear dynamic has set in with founders.”

Sara Thomas, a principal at Maven Ventures, said funding deals are taking longer today than in recent years.

“There are a lot more meetings to get to a yes,” Thomas said. Deals used to go to a full partner meeting after a couple of preliminary meetings.

“That’s not what is happening any more,” she said. “It is more and more conversations and due diligence before taking it to a partner meeting. It has taken longer to get to a Series A round and because of that we have been reflective of the number of seeds we have invested in.”

Bain Capital Venture’s Guha saw an upside to the new funding climate.

“With growth equity investing and others slowing down a bit, probably for the first time in two years traditional venture capital investors can take a look at doing Series C and Series D rounds. We are quite excited about being able to go back to being stage agnostic,” he said.

“For the better part of the last two years we were pretty much only looking at doing Series A and Series B. Beyond that point, the second a company started to get momentum, the valuations were really high,” he said. “During the last two years anytime somebody had a good idea, you had eight copycat companies that got funded by venture firms that missed out on the first company. That sounds like it is fine when capital is cheap but it prolongs the pain. It makes hiring harder, it makes finding office space harder and salaries go way out of line.”

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PredictionCX Uses Big Data to Predict Customer Actions, Now Available from MaritzCX |

  |   Portfolio News, The Latest

GlobeNewswire | Thursday, 30 June 2016 10:13 (EST)

SALT LAKE CITY, June 30, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — MaritzCX, a global customer experience (CX) software and services company, today announced the availability of PredictionCX™, the first-of-its-kind solution to help businesses grow by analyzing known customer information and using it to predict customer behavior and take action to improve CX for individual customers. Businesses can use PredictionCX to take information provided by the few customers who respond to customer surveys and apply that knowledge to the silent, unreachable majority who hold the largest wallet share. For example, sales and customer teams can know specifically who is going to leave and then act to save them.


PredictionCX puts to work the mountains of underutilized big data most companies are sitting on to reveal what customers want and need, from the collective whole down to the individual transaction. Unlike competitive offerings, PredictionCX is the first technology solution that leverages customer data from virtually any source and applies it back to CX data set at the individual level. This process enables organizations to use their resources in a highly targeted fashion to increase customer retention and drive growth.

“Customers are telling businesses much more than they realize. If you’re not leveraging this customer data, you’re leaving opportunity and money on the table,” said Carine Clark, president and CEO of MaritzCX. “Organizations that combine survey results with organic sources of customer data will be able to predict what customers need — without having to ask.”

Using predictive modeling, PredictionCX extrapolates survey data across large customer populations, leveraging all the objective attributes stored in enterprise systems about each one. This data holds the key to breakthrough insights that can be used to prioritize the deployment of customer-facing resources and drive retention, recovery, growth, and program ROI in the short term. Proactively addressing customer needs is also a long-term differentiator that will generate ongoing loyalty during an era in which consumer choice reigns supreme.

MaritzCX is partnering with PurePredictive™, an advanced analytics technology provider with patented technology that uses artificial intelligence to automate the building of complex predictive models using machine learning, to deliver part of the PredictionCX solution. PredictionCX is integrated into MaritzCX dashboards and case management to provide a strong customer recovery system through a closed-loop process. MaritzCX also provides the expert services to build predictive models with a high degree of accuracy, which is critical to ensuring sound CX investments and concrete program ROI.


About MaritzCX
MaritzCX® software and services help organizations see, sense and act on the experiences and desires of every customer to increase retention, conversion and lifetime value. With an unmatched combination of customer experience (CX) software, research science, vertical market expertise and managed program services, MaritzCX ingrains CX intelligence and action systems into the DNA of business operations through its 12-point CXEvolution process. To take the complimentary CX assessment, visit

For more information about MaritzCX, visit

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RSAC | Small Business: Wake Up to Growing Cyber Threats

  |   Allegis News, The Latest


A few months ago, Rokenbok Education, a Solana Beach, Calif., maker of educational toys, was facing perhaps the quintessential nightmare of the 21st century. Cyber criminals had encrypted the company’s computer files, rendering them useless.

The hackers were deploying ransomware. If Rokenbok wanted the data unlocked, it would have to pay a ransom. As the New York Times reported, the company ultimately managed to find a creative way out, sidestepping the ransom by laboriously reconstructing its key systems.

This was, in fact, the company’s second cybersecurity battle, and it underscores a fact that doesn’t get much attention: Small and mid-sized businesses are being breached more than big businesses, notwithstanding the apparent lack of motive and certainly a lack of widespread attention.

Studies and surveys show that 60 percent of cyber attacks on business target small and medium-sized businesses. About 40 percent of small businesses have been victims, at a cost averaging $9,000 to $36,000, depending on which survey you believe. These estimates don’t include reputation damage.

Many small businesses believe that cyber criminals are interested only in data from big companies, which obviously isn’t true. What they don’t take into account is that they have more digital assets than individuals, who are also commonly attacked, and sometimes inferior protection.

All too often, small businesses don’t update antivirus software, update firewalls or strengthen passwords. They could also put data in the cloud, rather than on company servers, but they usually don’t bother.

Cyber theft typically involves employee and customer data, bank account information, and access to the business’s finances. Small business also often provide access to supply chain networks.

Small and medium-sized businesses are most typically breached through malicious software delivery via email. People click on links from malicious email all the time. Chief financial officers and accounts payable employees are often sent well-worded emails falsified to look as though they were sent by the company’s owner, ostensibly approving wire payments to falsified bank accounts.

Among those increasingly concerned about the trend is the U.S. Small Business Administration, which says America’s 28 million small businesses create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. Like all businesses, the SBA says, small businesses are increasingly reliant on information technology to store, process and communicate information. Protecting this information better is critical, the SBA says.

What should small businesses do? For starters, they should seriously consider hiring a cybersecurity specialist. They can make application recommendations for encryption, scanning, malware and safe browsing. They can also show a small business which digital information systems require enhanced protection, create and manage backup databases, and block the installation of external applications that make a small business vulnerable.

With or without a cybersecurity consultant, all small and mid-sized businesses must proactively adopt measures to mitigate cybersecurity threats.

Here are 8 tips from the Small Business Administration about what to do:

  1. Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code:Make sure each of your business’s computers are equipped with antivirus software and antispyware, and updated regularly. All software vendors automatically provide patches and updates to correct security problems and improve functionality. 
  2. Secure your networks: Safeguard your internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information.  If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router. 
  3. Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information:Establish policies on how employees should handle and protect personally identifiable information and other sensitive data. Clearly outline the consequences of violating your business’s cybersecurity policies.
  4. Educate employees about cyber threats and hold them accountable: Educate your employees about online threats and how to protect your business’s data, including safe use of social networking sites. Employees should be educated about how to post online in a way that does not reveal any trade secrets. Hold employees accountable.
  5. Require employees to use strong passwords and to change them often: Consider implementing multifactor authentication, which requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multifactor authentication for your account.
  6. Make backup copies of important business data and information:Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly, and store the copies either offsite or on the cloud. 
  7. Control physical access to computers and network components:Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
  8. Create a mobile device action plan:Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.

Small business should act today—not tomorrow—to improve their cybersecurity. A breach in security can put a small business at great legal liability. And a single attack, such as one that compromises a customer’s financial information, can freeze operations or even put an organization out of business. It makes no sense for any business to take such avoidable risks.

Small business should act today — not tomorrow — to improve their cybersecurity. A breach in security can put a small business at great legal liability. And a single attack, such as one that compromises a customer’s financial information, can freeze operations or even put an organization out of business. It makes no sense for any business to take such avoidable risks.

Robert Ackerman Jr. is Founder & Managing Director of Allegis Capital – a San Francisco, CA-based early stage venture capital firm specializing in cybersecurity.





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Bloomberg | The One Group Not Freaking Out About Brexit: VCs

  |   Allegis News, The Latest

Logo_bloombergBy: Lizette Chapman  |  June 28, 2016


The U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union is still shooting shock waves across global financial markets, but one investor group remains unruffled: venture capitalists.


This is partly because of the numbers and partly because of the nature of venture investing.


European businesses have captured between 10 percent and 16 percent of total global venture capital annually since 2006, according to data from Dow Jones VentureSource. Although 2015 was a banner year — European startups secured $12.9 billion — it was still just 10 percent of the year’s global total. Of that amount, U.K. startups commanded just $4.5 billion, or 3.5 percent of the world’s total venture capital. Germany nabbed 1.9 percent, and France took in 1.3 percent, according to VentureSource.

Because Europe isn’t a big recipient of venture capital dollars, Brexit is less of a threat to the industry. “It’s a big deal geopolitically, but for venture-backed startups, and for venture capitalists, the impact for us is zero, zilch, nada,” said said Venky Ganesan, chair of the U.S. National Venture Capital Association and managing director at Menlo Ventures.


Saul Klein, a partner at London-based venture firm LocalGlobe, agreed that investors in U.K. tech companies are likely to stay the course. “If they were interested yesterday, they should be even more interested today, and if they are not, they were probably tourists anyway.”

Venture investors spend months or sometimes years getting to know founders before backing their startups. Bets are long-term, with the average return not happening for seven to 10 years. During that time, a lot happens: investors typically help teams build product, hire, market, and sell in a bid to outmaneuver the competition. All startups learn to adjust to new changes in fast-paced technology markets, or risk perishing. New regulations governing the role of U.K.-based startups may not arrive for at least two years — an eternity in the startup world.

“As early investors, we are used to dealing with uncertainty, and so are entrepreneurs. Their whole makeup is about assessing new risks,” said Neil Rimer, co-founder of Index Ventures, which has raised the most of any European fund so far this year at $550 million.

Rimer is based in Geneva. Index has backed gaming startup Helsinki-based Supercell Oy, payments company Adyen BV, in Amsterdam, and on-demand services including Paris-based BlaBlaCar, Just Eat and Deliveroo, both in London. He said he and his firm are still assessing how Brexit could affect their U.K.-based startups. Early stage companies are agile, Rimer said, and can relocate if need be while mature companies like Supercell and King Digital are global in nature and not overly dependent on the U.K.

“The ones I worry about are the middle ones that are dependent on the U.K. and aren’t nimble enough to do something about it over a two- to three-year period,” said Rimer.

Rimer and others said they expect Brexit’s primary impact will be on how companies recruit employees and scale operations. Although it’s still too early to say how that will change, investors will be watching those areas closely.

“We are just 96 hours in,” said Bob Ackerman, founder of Allegis Capital. “We are still determining what it means.”

While the impact is muted in the U.S., there’s some anxiety in the European tech scene. Jeff Lynn, CEO of the crowdfunding platform Seedrs and co-founder of the U.K. tech advocacy group Coadec, said many entrepreneurs are concerned the referendum will make it harder to raise money and recruit employees.

He said some startups had investments scrapped because of Brexit, with at least one company he wouldn’t name having a “Brexit clause,” allowing the investors to back out after the U.K. vote. “The uncertainty is profound,” he said.

SoftTech VC partner Andy McLoughlin said Brexit could make it easier for other growing hubs like Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam to outshine London.

“This is an opportunity for them to step up,” he said.


— With assistance from Jeremy Kahn and Adam Satariano.

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Read More | Investors Make Last-Minute Play For B2B FinTechs

  |   Portfolio News, Series A, The Latest


While last week was a fairly impressive week for B2B venture capital, investors swooped in on their dark horses to give an extra bump to B2B financial services startups.

The first came Thursday (June 23) when reports emerged that Apruve secured $2.25 million in venture capital funding led by TTV Capital and Allegis Capital. Apruve provides financial management solutions for small businesses that operate in the B2B eCommerce space. According to reports, it enables companies to accept online orders from business customers and provides instant credit for their sales.

The Series A funding will be used to scale up the company, reports said. “We believe Apruve is solving a fundamental problem that well enable more businesses to ride the $1.3 trillion wave of B2B eCommerce that is currently unfolding,” said TTV managing director Tom Smith in a statement. “Their solution takes on outdated accounts receivable processes, automates it then underwrites the credit risk for the seller.”

Apruve integrates into eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce.

Across the pond, U.K. startup Satago raised about $6.3 million from backers for its eInvoicing solution, reports also said Thursday.

The company provides a database for companies to see how well other businesses are paying their invoices on time. It provides automated invoices, payment requests and reminders, and credit reporting solutions into its service, geared toward micro-businesses and freelancers that need to manage outstanding bills from clients.

The funding, provided by ESF Capital, coincides with Satago’s launch of Invoice Finance. The new service that provides freelancers with access to working capital by funding 85 percent of outstanding bills. The final 15 percent is provided once a company pays the invoice.

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