Building a new cybersecurity hub in Singapore: Early Stage

ICE71 Accelerate has a 10% selection rate, according to one of its organizers.

Image from NUS Enterprise ICE71 Accelerate 3 Demo Day.

Around the world, there are three widely recognized centers for cybersecurity—the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel.

Singapore wants to join the club, so the city-state has implemented various public policies to build new cybersecurity infrastructure. The island state’s government recently announced its Operational Technology (OT) Cybersecurity Masterplan, which was co-developed by the Cyber Security Agency to guide the development of capabilities to secure systems and mitigate emerging cyber threats. Under the plan, Singapore will train more advanced OT cybersecurity professionals.

One of Singapore’s regional initiatives is to establish Southeast Asia’s first cybersecurity entrepreneur hub. It’s called the Innovation Cybersecurity Ecosystem at Block 71 (ICE71), and is backed by Singtel Innov8, the venture capital arm of Singtel Group, and the National University of Singapore’s entrepreneurial arm NUS Enterprise.

ICE71 has its own accelerator program called ICE71 Accelerate, which is run by CyLon, a dedicated cybersecurity accelerator from London. ICE71 Accelerate has incubated and accelerated two cohorts—25 startups in all—since launching in March 2018.

ICE71 Accelerate is a highly selective program. Only one in ten applicants are absorbed into the program, CyLon co-founder Jonathan Luff told KrASIA. The program unveiled the roster of its third cohort last week. This batch of startups have diverse backgrounds and originate from seven countries—Singapore, Australia, Bulgaria, France, India, Nepal, and New Zealand.

Singapore is the most vulnerable to cyber attacks in Southeast Asia. In 2018, 27% of business email compromise incidents in the region occurred in Singapore. The country also suffered two large data breaches this year.

For this week’s “Early Stage,” KrASIA looked at the Singaporean startups that participated in ICE71 Accelerate.

Polaris sets out to build the next-generation application security solutions that secure the web presence of internet-facing organizations. Its platform automates traffic analysis. Polaris has its own proprietary artificial intelligence engine that can improve threat detection accuracy and reduce false positives.

Cylynx specializes in blockchain analytics and forensics. It aims to be the “Reuters and Bloomberg of the Blockchain industry.” The platform uses machine learning to detect anomalous patterns and flag suspicious activities. Cylynx’s risk-based platform screens blockchain transactions, simplifying and securing compliance.

Blackscore focuses on digital identities. Founded by a former university professor, Blackscore’s platform can be used for automated risk scoring and classification, border control, as well as social scoring for credit-worthiness.

Aiculus is a company that helps organizations embrace API technology without having to compromise their risk profile. Its API protector is able to monitor an organization’s traffic and detect malicious calls that attempt to illegally extract, steal, and manipulate data and services.

“Early Stage” is a series where the writers of KrASIA highlight startups that caught our eye for the week.