Skip to main content
Press Release

City of New York and Jerusalem Venture Partners Announce 18 Finalists for Global Cybersecurity Competition

Aug 16 2019

NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge Drew 169 Proposals Aimed to Deliver Innovative Digital Security Solutions to Small Businesses

The Finalists Will Publicly Pitch and Demonstrate Their Concepts in New York City

NEW YORK, NY—The Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO), New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and NYC Cyber Command (C3) today announced the selection of 18 finalists from the 169 proposals received for the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge. The NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge is a key component of NYCEDC’s Cyber NYC initiative, a $100 million public-private investment aimed at transforming New York City into a global leader of cybersecurity innovation and talent.

To elevate awareness of the challenge and increase the number of quality applicants, the City established a consortium of international partners, including JVP, Israel’s leading venture capital firm, and government organizations from Israel, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Berlin, Helsinki, London, and Paris. As a result, the challenge attracted innovative cybersecurity companies from all over the world. Applicants addressed cyber needs such as application security, authentication, cloud security, end-point and network security, privacy, and internet of things security, among others.

“These finalists have all demonstrated they have the innovation, solutions, and tools to strengthen New York City as a global leader in cybersecurity,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “At a time when global communities are increasingly becoming interconnected, New York City will continue to work with partners in the private sector to find innovative cybersecurity solutions.”

“We recognize that making New York City a strong and fair city means ensuring technology is designed and delivered to meet the needs of all New Yorkers, including our sizable small business community,” said John Paul Farmer, City of New York Chief Technology Officer. “The NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge is a great example of global partnership and innovation, and using technology for good.”

“It’s no secret that the threat of cyberattacks is one of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said NYCEDC Chief Strategy Officer Ana Ariño. “That is why New York City has set out to become the global leader for the cybersecurity industry. The Cyber NYC Moonshot Challenge is a first of its kind public-private partnership that brings top cyber companies and talent to New York City. We’re proud of the incredible response to this competition from a diverse, innovative and international group of applicants, and are excited to support these companies in New York City’s vibrant cyber ecosystem.”

"As the frequency and sophistication of cyber threats continues to grow, it's more important than ever that we're investing in the innovation of cyber security solutions, and that we're focusing on the education and training of the next generation of cyber defenders." said Geoff Brown, Head of New York City Cyber Command.

“At JVP, we’ve helped our portfolio companies leverage their innovative technology to solve global challenges,” said Dr. Erel Margalit, Founder and Executive Chairman of Jerusalem Venture Partners. “We’re thrilled at the response we’ve seen to this competition, and believe it will help lay the foundation for the growing and vibrant cyber ecosystem that we’re proud to help build in New York City.”

The NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge was announced in November 2018 and closed the first round of the competition in February 2019. It received 169 proposals from 77 cities representing 18 countries, the largest global response of any initiative launched by the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer. Additionally, nearly one-third of applicants qualified as a minority or woman-owned business.

Seven finalists will receive an award of $10,000 from the City of New York to test their proposals in New York City, the opportunity to partner with the City to deliver solutions to local small businesses, and international partner support to enter markets in Israel, Japan, South Korea, Berlin, Helsinki, London, and Paris:

  • Think Cyber (United Kingdom) - RedFlags™ software product applies behavioral and learning science theory to provide context-sensitive, just-in-time guidance – delivering secure behavioral change for their customers.
  • Cynch (Australia) - Cyber fitness platform provides business owners with continuous cyber risk prioritization, plain language guidance and support when reducing risks, and bundled products and services to create a one-stop-shop for small business cybersecurity.
  • Inky (United States) - Email protection gateway uses sophisticated AI, machine learning and computer vision algorithms to block nefarious phishing attacks.
  • Paladin (United States) - Packages easy-to-use protection tools, interactive security awareness training, on-demand cyber expertise, and broad insurance coverage.
  • TwoSense AI (United States) - Invisibly and continuously authenticates users by their behavior, such as how they walk, type, carry their device, or interact with a screen.
  • Skout (United States) - Cloud-native, streaming data analytics platform built to deliver effective and affordable cybersecurity products for SMBs through managed service providers.
  • Atakama (United States) - Protects sensitive files using advanced threshold cryptography and by inextricably linking files stored in one location to more than one physical device.

11 finalists will be eligible for over $1 million investment from JVP and acceptance into JVP’s inaugural Cyber NYC cybersecurity accelerator cohort, designed to help propel their growth and footprint in New York City:

  • Akeyless (Israel) - Provides zero-trust, cloud-based solution to manage secrets and keys, allowing easier migration to cloud services, while preserving security levels and compliance.
  • Alpha Strike Labs (Germany) - Provides security assessment and penetration testing across different verticals and business sizes.
  • Cyglass (United States) – Dark threat detection allows users to uncover, pinpoint, and respond to advanced cyber threats that have evaded traditional security controls.
  • Coronet (Israel) - SMB security solution adopted by more than 3.5M users, providing cloud services security, threat detection, access control, network and EP security at a click-of-a-button.
  • NeuraLegion (Israel) - Machine learning-based vulnerability detection that mirrors a human’s critical thinking when looking for vulnerabilities.
  • Nimesa Technology Pvt Ltd (India) - Rapid backup and recovery of critical applications, servers or databases after catastrophic events such as a ransomware attack.
  • Perimeter 81 (Israel) - Zero-trust, network as a service, providing perimeter-based security at the end-point level.
  • Seald (France) - Complete solution to secure, track and control sensitive emails and documents exchanged inside and outside an organization using end-2-end encryption.
  • Security Platform Inc (South Korea) - Next-generation cybersecurity protection embedded into IoT devices.
  • Todyl (United States) – Providing holistic cyber security solutions for SMBs, including zero-trust network connectivity, security orchestration, and response.
  • VU (Argentina) - Fraud prevention and identity protection with a seamless and user-friendly experience.

The NYCx Moonshot Challenge finalists will pitch their approach in New York City to City officials, undergo rigorous technical testing led by C3, and receive real feedback from small business users. The finalists will also participate in a public event on August 15th at JVP’s HUB.NYC Cybersecurity Center to highlight their progress and demonstrate how the challenge will help the City’s broader cybersecurity goals.

“As the world becomes more connected, the threats against our information systems increase and small businesses with less resources can be the most vulnerable,” said Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Technology Council Member Robert Holden. “I applaud the efforts of The Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO), NYC Cyber Command (C3), and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) in hosting the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge to promote digital security for small businesses, and I wish all participants the best of luck.”

"Government's responsibility is to keep residents safe from threats to safety and security, and in today's world that means keeping New Yorkers safe online," said Council Member Ben Kallos a free and open-source software developer. “Congratulations to the 18 finalists of the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge. Thank you to the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer John Paul Farmer, NYC Cyber Command (C3), and New York City Economic Development Corporation President James Patchett for their bold leadership for a digital future."

“Small businesses are the bedrock of New York City’s economy and need digital protection to stay resilient in an ever-evolving world of technology,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “We are thrilled that our partners in government have brought the world’s best and brightest together, to keep our small business community safe.”

“Once again, New York City is demonstrating leadership in innovation and city diplomacy to address challenges that impact local and global communities,” said International Affairs Commissioner Penny Abeywardena. “The NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge finalists are surfacing new solutions and ideas that will not only strengthen our small businesses and help them to thrive in New York City, but will also deliver sustainable protections for small and midsize businesses everywhere."

“Cybersecurity is foremost on the minds of every citizen across the globe as we hear about the many breaches dominating the news on a daily basis,” said New York State Senator, Diane Savino. “We are a city of innovation, great talent and resources ready to meet these security challenges head on. Where Apple, Facebook and Google succeeded in building Silicon Valley, projects like Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge will be in making New York the global leader in cyber and creating with that opportunities and employment for many.”

“Atakama is a NYC-based startup that set out to build a practical encryption solution to protect data-at-rest,” said Daniel H. Gallancy, CEO of Atakama. “Our goal is to offer NYC businesses feasible security software that is understandable, easy-to-use and deploy, and seamlessly integrates with existing systems and security infrastructures. We’re thrilled to have been named a finalist in the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge and thankful for the opportunity to partner with NYC businesses and support their cybersecurity initiatives.”

"We are over the moon (pun intended) to be included amongst the finalists in the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge,” said Susie Jones, Co-founder & CEO, Cynch Security. “Our mission has always been to support small business owners to build strength and resilience to cyber threats wherever they are in the world, and the challenge is our first step to expanding beyond Australian borders."

“INKY provides world-class email protection previously only available to the very largest companies,” said Dave Baggett, INKY CEO and Founder. “INKY even adds a color-coded banner to each email with guidance on that email in plain English. These banners protect and educate users.”

"Paladin Cyber’s mission is to reduce the cost and complexity of cybersecurity and bring enterprise-grade cyber protection to SMBs,” said Han Wang, CEO, Paladin. “We are delighted to be participating in the NYCx Challenge which will allow us to offer a bundled cyber defense and insurance package to over 95% of NYC small and medium businesses for less than $100 a month. We see continued innovation from New York City and we’re excited to contribute to the City’s overall cyber defense!"

“Small and Medium sized businesses employ most of the American workforce and power the U.S. economy, which is why it is extremely important to make them as resilient from cybersecurity threats as resource rich fortune 500 companies,” said Aidan Kehoe, CEO, SKOUT. “At SKOUT, we strive to make cybersecurity accessible to all businesses, especially SMBs. I applaud the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer for the moonshot challenge program. The goals of this challenge perfectly align with the mission and vision of SKOUT and it’s a massive honor for us to be shortlisted as one of the finalists.”

"ThinkCyber are over the moon to be finalists, bringing our unique real-time security awareness solution from the UK to help New York City SMBs," said Tim Ward CEO of Think Cyber Security. "The NYCx Cybersecurity Challenge represents an exciting opportunity both to deploy our software to protect New York SMBs and to work with the City of New York’s Mayor’s Office of the CTO and Cyber Command to share our unique approach to security awareness -- empowering staff in businesses across the city to protect themselves against cyber threats."

“TWOSENSE.AI is a Brooklyn-based company providing continuous biometric authentication in the workplace based on behavior,” said Dawud Gordon, Co-Founder and CEO of TWOSENSE.AI. “Our product protects employee access with a security layer on top of existing authentication technology that learns behavior patterns in typing, mouse movement, gait, etc. for invisible authentication. We believe that security done right should be easy to use, and we are excited to bring this modern advance in U.S. Department of Defense-grade cybersecurity to the New York City small business community.”

“The NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge is the latest in several strong collaborations Helsinki has had with the City of New York, dating back to the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights and the UN Voluntary Local Review,” said Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki. “The unique value of the Moonshot Challenge has been in leveraging New York City’s platform to bring together a powerful coalition of international partners to surface the most innovative cybersecurity solutions for a critical part of our local economies, our small businesses. We are excited about the approaches the finalists are taking to digital security and welcome them to Helsinki after the Challenge.”

“As Israel is one of the global centers for Cyber Security, it was very natural for us at the Israeli Economic Mission in NY, together with the Israeli Innovation Authority, to join forces with the NYC municipality and its economic agencies, as well as with JVP, in order to leverage the partnerships between Israeli and NY players in this field,” said Inon Elroy, Economic Minister to North America and Head of the Israel Economic Mission in NY. “We are proud that 25% of the total submissions to the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge were from Israeli companies , four of which were included in the list of 18 finalists.”

"Cybersecurity is the backbone in leading future innovation,” said Jihyung Lee, President, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) North America. “KOTRA remains committed in exchanging cybersecurity expertise at a multinational level and looks forward to continued collaboration with New York City on the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge."

“We are thrilled to see a LORCA member nominated as a finalist for the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge,” said Saj Huq, Program Director for the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement. “As one of our original cohort, Think Cyber Security’s inclusion on the shortlist is testament to the company’s appetite to scale and innovate. It fully deserves its place alongside an impressive range of companies from around the world, highlighting the excellence in the UK’s cybersecurity sector. With the right support, cybersecurity companies can and will have a significant role in protecting businesses of all sizes and making society a safer place.”

Cybersecurity resilience is a top priority for New York City. In 2018, NYCEDC announced the winners of its Cyber NYC initiative, aimed at driving substantial cyber startup growth, training and skill-building for cyber careers, and deep commercialization partnerships between academic institutions and cyber companies.

Similarly, NYC3, along with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, NYPD and Global Cyber Alliance, launched New York City Cyber Critical Services and Infrastructure (NYC CCSI) – a formal partnership that allows NYC businesses and government to work together to mitigate attacks on the city’s critical services and infrastructure. A survey conducted by MOCTO prior to launch of the challenge revealed that 85 percent of SMB respondents ranked cybersecurity as very important to their business, and 76 percent wanted to learn about affordable cybersecurity solutions. The NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge will help raise awareness of cyber solutions and protections, positioning New York City as the nation’s leading hub for cybersecurity.

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

The Mayor’s Office of the CTO is led by the New York City Chief Technology Officer. We’re making broadband, smart city technologies, digital services, and the tech industry work for all New Yorkers. Learn more at