Kaspersky iHub | July 20, 2020

Deep tech startups and the era of corporate accelerators

Vitaly Mzokov, Head of the Kaspersky Innovation Hub, partner of Axis Russia, talks about the new role of enterprises have in the venture market, the most prospective spheres to develop startups and Kaspersky innovations initiatives.

In the early 2010s, startups like marketplaces and various aggregators were very popular. But that era is now cosigned to the past. Today, the most prospective projects are focused on deep technology and narrow specializations – so-called deep tech startups. They are increasingly in demand. Their areas of expertise include such promising fields as machine learning, 5G networks, the Internet of Things (IoT), medical technology, industrial security and personal data protection.

Our global initiative - Open innovation - provides an opportunity to speed up the market penetration of our solutions. It’s possible to implement product concepts internally using our own in-house development, but that’s a much longer process. The alternative is to involve startups that already have a product, customers, sales, etc. In this case, the partnership between the corporation and the startup results in some interesting technological solutions. 

We have been developing startups at Kaspersky for several years now. One way or another all of them are related to our main specialization – information security. In 2017, the first project– an electronic voting system based on blockchain technology called Polys – was launched on the market. We launched Kaspersky Security Awareness, a product line for increasing digital literacy, shortly afterwards. Since then, successful projects have been launched in both domestic and international markets and are generating substantial profits.

The Kaspersky Innovation Hub (iHub) is currently developing several projects – from Kaspersky Antidrone, designed to protect civilian objects from drone intrusions, to Undatify, a digital assistant that helps people make meaningful decisions about their personal data and ease the process of requesting the removal of personal data from company systems. the service became available for users earlier this year. 

While developing innovative tech projects internally, we are also focused on finding new growth opportunities externally. What does this mean?

In 2019 we launched a new global initiative – the Kaspersky Open Innovation. As part of this initiative, the Kaspersky Innovation Hub looks around the world for interesting startups with MVP and initial revenue, which we could work with to bring innovative products and services to the market. Apart from additional revenue and new solutions, we are also forming a deal flow with the prospect of working together on advantageous terms with startups that have shown good results.

As a global technology company, we offer startups extensive business expertise and can ensure their expansion into the global market through our infrastructure.

During the selection process, we scout the market for suitable startups, validate the technology base and business prospects, sift out and select the best startups for piloting and scaling. 

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In October 2019, we announced the results of the first selection process. We received a total of 258 applications from all over the world in four areas: transportation, blockchain, anti-fraud (combating internet fraud) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). A jury of top managers from Kaspersky and independent experts voted for the four winners, which also includes  one from Israel - Enigmatos - that presents a unique and proprietary technology – Deep Car Identity Profiling (DCIP) - an offering that enables the detection and prevention of cyberattacks on vehicles. 

There are several scenarios happen during our further work with these winners: a joint product launch to the market, through Kaspersky’s channel and without branding; a technological alliance powered by Kaspersky; or a pilot project where a startup’s product can be launched jointly with Kaspersky’s solutions to a key markets. We decide on the best approach based on each individual startup and careful evaluation of how we can possibly cooperate.

Through the first challenge we saw that our program proved its value, not only for young tech-based startups, but also for our customers. That’s why we decided to continue working in this direction: in the first half of 2020 we’ve already conducted two additional rounds, with each of them dedicated to a specific theme or audience and related to cybersecurity - “All-Life protection: Family, Home and Privacy” and “Cybersecurity for game industry”. We believe that by joining forces, we can enhance our technologies and together address security needs with higher accuracy and efficiency, as well as support the essence of cyber-immunity.  

We are now planning new rounds of scouting focusing on different narrow specializations. To track new rounds and submit an application click here: https://www.kaspersky.com/ihub/

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