Issue No. 1 October 2019.
Thoughts from our CEO
Welcome to the inaugural issue of 5i Capital’s cyber blog, a regular collection of company news, industry snippets, interesting cyber tech start-ups and introductions to our team. 5i Capital is
Singapore’s first – and so far, only – venture capital firm seeking to invest solely in high potential, early stage cyber security technology start-ups across Asia Pacific
in the seed through series A space. We got started because we identified a real lack of love and attention for (a) cyber start-ups that were (b) early stage and (c) across the region.
Concurrent with our cyber sector specialisation is a strong social impact theme underpinning the fund and guiding our investment decisions. Promising cyber start-ups need both early stage capital and nurturing. That’s clear. But what is also needed, in our opinion, is
a broader commitment to making a positive social impact.
We aim to achieve that in two ways:
First, by having a clear investment philosophy where technologies that can be misappropriated for nefarious purposes are explicitly excluded (investments that benefit or profit from oppressive regimes, cyber weapons, exploitation and financial crimes).
Secondly, we actively seek out diversity from the investment opportunity set - female founders or co-founders, start-ups with a diversity of nationalities and/or ethnicities and neurodiversity (autism spectrum disorder, for example).
And finally, as the world enthuses exponentially about AI and debates whether its adoption leads eventually to utopia or dystopia, we ask you to consider whether the three ‘E’s’ of emotion, empathy and ethics, can be programmed!
Trends & News
People are talking about diversity and at 5i Capital
we believe our diversity gives us an edge – we have multiple perspectives and see the world through different lenses.
Diversity is also an important attribute we look for in start-ups. We will seek out and uncover investments that are overlooked or misunderstood by traditional VCs or excluded due to conscious or unconscious bias.
We see a neat intersect between cybersecurity and neurodiversity
with the talent and skills required for cybersecurity often found (or can be uncovered) in neurodivergent people.
A number of our team members have had first-hand experience in setting up, training and managing teams of people on the autism spectrum to work in cybersecurity, data analytics and software testing. Not an exercise for the faint hearted but the Dandelion Program, started by our CIO, Michael Fieldhouse in 2014, today has over 100 people on the autism spectrum, employed by Australian banks and Australian government departments including Defence, Home Affairs and Human Services. Life changing for those successfully employed and their families with just one example reported here by the ANZ Bank. Commercially successful for the employers who stepped up to the challenge through securing highly skilled, motivated, dedicated employees shown to be more effective and efficient than their non-neurodivergent peers. Positive social and financial impacts for society with people employed and engaged in society and the social, community and health benefits that come with that.
Aiculus uses advances in artificial Intelligence to provide API security, privacy and visibility.
The Aiculus Harambi* API Protector builds behavioural profiles of safe API activity autonomously, eliminating the need for complex rules, set ups and continuous updates, of attack signatures.
And all this without accessing sensitive or personal data, thus ensuring the highest privacy standards. On demand reports can be generated to provide visibility and insights on API traffic and threats.
Aiculus was one of four cybersecurity early stage Australian companies to participate in Austrade’s Singapore Landing Pad and was subsequently successful in being selected for Singapore’s highly regarded ICE71/CyLon Accelerator programme.
At 5i Capital, we see in Aiculus what we love in a cybersecurity start-up – innovative, elegant, technical solution to an identified problem, broad market application, shared values with the founders and a culture of diversity, openness and humility that allows for continuous growth, development and improvement. We are watching Aiculus’ evolution with great interest!
We mentioned the word “diversity” in talking trends and we are proud to say we are.
Of our team of Principals and Advisers we have 6 nationalities and our brains trust spans academia, investments, engineering, law, IT, law enforcement, defence, governance and government. We can also lay claim to being neuro, ethnically and gender diverse but are conscious of there being room for improvement.
Meet our team here.