Selling your vision

A new event at SC World Congress invites young vendors to tout their wares. Trident Capital's Becky Bace provides advice on participating.

Many say that innovation is all but dead in the cybersecurity market. We at SC Magazine, however, believe that innovation is far from lifeless. To that end, during the second annual SC World Congress, Oct. 13 to 14, we've got something interesting in store. Looking to honor the brightest information security companies that have recently launched, we'll be holding a competition, the Security Innovators Throwdown, during which leading young companies, chosen by us, will present their goals for their newly developed technologies or services before a judging panel of experts. Our judges will determine just which vendors among the competitors have the most considered business plans and most robust tools that not only could garner interest from buyers, but also possible investment from venture capitalists (VCs).

For showcasing their offerings, those innovators ranked at the top of the group will be featured in SC Magazine as part of a special section that will discuss the evolution of the information security market and their places in it. And, because the event's audience will have been seeded with VCs interested in this vibrant market, those participants leading the pack might even be able to seal a deal before the event is over.

Now, read on to get tips on submitting your application to participate in the Security Innovators Throwdown from Becky Bace, a judge on our panel and a member of the security investment team for Trident Capital.
-- Illena Armstrong

You're a security geek who has an idea that will revolutionize the practice of security. You and some friends have joined forces to start a company that builds products based on your ideas. And now, you're considering taking the next step in the high-tech startup cycle -- looking for venture capitalist (VC) backing for your new firm.

Typically, VCs have a role that merges the functions of investor, adviser, coach, supporter and friend to the firm. They make money by finding those firms that have the greatest potential for growth, investing funds in them, then providing assistance so that they grow in value as quickly as possible.

Successful VCs do their homework. They study markets, seeking those that are likely to grow. They analyze the needs articulated by customers in those markets and scrutinize the technology associated with meeting those needs. Many VCs have credentials in both business and in technology. Some have launched successful startups of their own. Others engage subject matter experts for guidance about the market in which they're investing.
What do these credentials mean to you? Hopefully, they suggest that VCs can identify those firms that have growth potential in today's security market and help such firms fulfill that potential.
Finding the right companies to invest in takes time and usually starts with a review of a one-page executive summary -- written by your team -- that makes clear what you have to offer. It attempts to answer questions investors may have about your product, its viability and where it sits in the market.
To be considered for participation in the Security Innovators Throwdown event, this one-pager must be thorough but concise. Please visit our site for more details on the requirements to enter this new event at SC World Congress.

Becky Bace will be one of the judges for the Security Innovators Throwdown at the SC World Congress. She is a members of the security investment team at Trident Capital, a Tier 1 venture capital firm located in Palo Alto, Calif.



Do remember that you want to communicate with people who are not security experts. Don't write the executive summary as a litany of geek-speak and slang.

Do try to be concise in your coverage of the areas described.

Do balance the technical and the business aspects of the story of your firm.

Do understand that the executive summary is your shot at making a good impression on potential funders. Take time to edit and format the document so that it looks polished and competent.

Don't take initial rejection personally. If the VC doesn't explain a rejection, there's no sin in asking why.

Don't act as if the VC is an adversary, out to steal your idea. Remember, in the best of cases, you are interviewing this team as partners for your firm and you will spend a lot of time with them over the life of your firm -- treat them accordingly.

Don't burn bridges by behaving badly. You never know when you might be back with a winning idea or firm.
 -- Becky Bace

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