Best cyber innovation leads to Israel

By Eytan Halon

 

Cyber NYC Managing Director Wilson Lin (L) and SOSA CEO Uzi Scheffer

 Cyber NYC Managing Director Wilson Lin (L) and SOSA CEO Uzi Scheffer
An ambitious $100 million initiative to transform New York City into the global capital of cybersecurity, creating thousands of new jobs in the process, set itself a demanding target: to find the very best partners, no matter their location, to fulfill its mission.The Cyber NYC initiative’s worldwide hunt for leading innovation – driven by the quasi-government organization behind the project, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) – eventually brought it to Israel and its pioneering innovation start-up ecosystem.

The initiative has been fueled by a $30 million investment by the City of New York, and a further $70 million in private funding, and aims to produce 10,000 jobs within five years.

“New York City is a global city, where we have always welcomed people from abroad – that’s part of our history and our ethos, both from a social and economic perspective, and that has allowed the city to become a global leader in so many important industries,” Wilson Lin, Cyber NYC Managing Director, said at the Cybertech TLV 2019 conference.

“When we thought about our vision for cybersecurity in New York City, and started looking for partners, we didn’t say that we want partners from any specific geography. We only wanted the best for New York.”

While potential partners applied from all over the United States, a visit to Israel by NYCEDC leaders led to the selection of SOSA and Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) in November 2018 to lead two of five hi-tech programs aiming to drive New York’s budding cyber industry.

SOSA, a Tel Aviv-headquartered global innovation center and networking platform, will establish a 15,000 square foot, state-of-the-art “Global Cyber Center” in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, offering industry-specific events, a co-working space for start-ups and a virtual testing ground to run cyber simulations.

“Our goal is to help create a larger pipeline of technology meeting industry and managing to successfully engage, be implemented and integrated as solutions,” SOSA CEO Uzi Scheffer told the Post.

“This initiative makes the US market even more accessible for Israel’s export-oriented cyber industry,” Scheffer explained. “It’s good for the Israeli economy to accelerate exports, and we believe this supports New York’s strategy to see companies land in the city, and grow naturally and create jobs.”

While the Global Cyber Center will clearly represent an attractive proposition for start-ups wishing to scale up, Lin believes it will also create a helpful environment for investors.

“Venture capital firms will have greater opportunities to identify strong deals in the pipeline, and they are a critical part of the work that we do. It will strengthen all the different nodes of the cyber ecosystem,” Lin said.

JVP, founded in 1993 by Dr. Erel Margalit, will replicate in New York its existing model of public-private cyber incubators operating in Beersheba and Jerusalem.

This incubator, called “Hub.NYC by JVP,” will be located inside a 50,000 square foot space in SoHo and will support growth-stage start-ups by facilitating access to clients, business support and investment, with the goal of growing them into major cybersecurity companies in New York City.

The hub will also serve as JVP’s headquarters for its activities and portfolio companies in the United States.

Increased investment in New York-based technology, particularly cybersecurity through NYCEDC, follows the July 2017 launch of the New York Works program by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The program includes a decade-long series of 25 initiatives to combat economic inequality by creating 100,000 high-paying jobs through investment in industries with good wages and job potential, including technology, health care, manufacturing and the creative and cultural sectors.