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Press Release

City of New York Launches Global Challenge to Protect Small Businesses from Cyberattacks

Nov 01 2018

NYCx & Cyber NYC’s Moonshot Challenge Will Create Cybersecurity Solutions for New York City’s Small Businesses. Winning Proposals to Receive Over $1 Million Investment From JVP and Additional Cash Prizes

Contest Also Leverages International Partnerships With Israel, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Berlin, Helsinki, London, and Paris to Launch Challenge

NEW YORK, NY—The Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO), NYC Cyber Command (C3), and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), today launched the Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge that calls on industry experts to develop and deliver new, affordable, and scalable solutions to protect New York City-based small and midsize business from the dangers of cyberattacks. The 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.

As cyberattacks increasingly present one of the greatest threats around the globe, the City has established a consortium of international partners to launch this challenge – all with a shared interest in developing the most innovative and effective cybersecurity solutions. The City will partner with Israel's leading venture capital firm, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), and global partners from Israel, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Berlin, Helsinki, London, and Paris. These partners will work with the City to solicit and evaluate proposals from companies and startups that can secure small and midsize businesses from cyberattacks. Additionally, the Global Cyber Alliance is partnering on the challenge to increase awareness among interested startups and will seek to incorporate Challenge learnings into its ongoing support for small businesses.

“With the Cyber Moonshot Challenge, our goal is to find solutions designed to make New York City's small businesses more resilient," said Laura Anglin, Deputy Mayor for Operations. "This moonshot is an exciting opportunity to partner with experts to drive innovation and safeguard consumer data."

“With the Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge, we continue to support new technological breakthroughs that benefit businesses in New York and serve as models for other global economies,” said Jeremy M. Goldberg, Deputy CTO and Managing Director of NYCx, Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer.

“Cybersecurity is one of our world’s greatest threats, and we need to be ambitious about protecting ourselves. That’s why we’re making New York City a hotbed for cyber innovation, to protect every New Yorker and every business – all while creating good-paying jobs,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “We are proud to help launch this important challenge, which will benefit New York City and create game-changing technology for the world to share.”

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of cities around the world and at the center of the global economy of the future,” said Erel Margalit, Founder and Chairman of JVP. “Unfortunately, these same companies are too frequently abandoned in their search for state-of-the-art IT and cyber security solutions. As a result, our collective aim is to help unleash a new generation of innovation and the Cyber Moonshot Challenge is an important step in that direction.”

Four to eight finalists will receive an award of up to $20,000 to test their proposal in New York City, structured support to deliver the solution into international markets. JVP has also committed an over $1 million investment to be awarded to selected proposals, which will help companies accelerate growth in New York City. JVP was recently selected by NYCEDC to establish the city’s first international cybersecurity investment hub, HUB.NYC in SoHo as part of the City’s Cyber NYC initiative and has a track record of successful cybersecurity investments.

At the start of October, 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, C3 launched a first-of-its-kind free consumer app to help New Yorkers secure their personal devices and the WiFi networks they routinely use. This NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot will strengthen New York City as a leading hub for cybersecurity.

The nearly 240,000 small and midsize businesses that call New York City home are central to the economic growth and opportunity across the five boroughs. According to a 2017 Center for an Urban Future (CUF) report, small businesses with fewer than twenty employees have experienced net job growth every year since 2001, despite major economic downturns. The report went on to highlight that those same small and midsize businesses dramatically outpaced far larger counterparts in delivering job growth, adding nearly three times as many jobs annually as companies with more than 500 employees from 2009-2017.

In a world of heightened cyber threats, New York City must ensure that these businesses are as resilient to cyberattacks as their larger counterparts. Small and midsize businesses increasingly conduct business online and collect and store data about customers. Most cybersecurity companies target and price cybersecurity tools to larger enterprises with high expertise and budget. The Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge aims to incentivize cyber organizations and startups to develop, test, and build cybersecurity solutions targeted for the small business owners are affordable, effective, and easy-to-use.

“A coordinated cyber attack can affect anyone, from individuals at home to major corporations and even small businesses on Main Street,” said Council Member Koo, Chair of the Committee on Technology. “The tech industry in NYC is focused on creating new protections for every level of society, and the moonshot challenge looks to make sure that our small business community is first in line to benefit from these new innovations.”

“The reality is that bad actors don’t discriminate in who they target, and small businesses need to be prepared to defend themselves. That’s where this NYCx challenge comes in,” said Samir Saini, Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. “I commend our sister agencies for their proactive and collaborative approach to keeping our city safe and resilient.”

“This initiative shows that the City of New York is thinking about cybersecurity from each appropriate angle,” said Geoffrey Brown, Chief Information Security Officer, City of New York. “With NYC Secure, we are taking cybersecurity tools to New Yorkers, with CyberNYC from EDC, we are creating an influx of energy for the cybersecurity economy of this City, and now, with the Cyber Moonshot Challenge, we are empowering small businesses with the types of tailored solutions that are all at once effective and accessible, and I look forward to where we go from here.”

“As New Yorkers, we strongly rely on our neighborhood businesses, which is why the City is committed to enhancing their resiliency,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “With the Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge, the City is taking a significant step to help local small businesses protect themselves against modern dangers so that they can continue to be dependable cornerstones of our communities.”

“Local leaders around the world are using city diplomacy to share their innovative solutions to global challenges and tackle pressing issues across borders. Small businesses are integral to the vitality and growth of our local communities, and need protection against emerging cyber threats. By partnering with the private sector and other global cities for the Cyber Moonshot Challenge as part of NYCx, NYC is taking the lead to promote a sustainable and safe future for small business owners,” said International Affairs Commissioner Penny Abeywardena.

“Small businesses face significant problems – they simply cannot afford the defenses necessary to operate safely online. The NYC Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge is a forward leaning effort to develop breakthrough means to address this problem. The Global Cyber Alliance looks forward to bringing its focus on delivering concrete solutions to the Moonshot Challenge, to help small businesses in New York City and across the Internet,” said Philip Reitinger, Global Cyber Alliance President and CEO.

“London and New York are two of the world’s top global hubs for technology and innovation,leading the way in creating ideas that will have a positive impact on society,” said Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, the Mayor of London's official promotional agency. “Cybersecurity is an important area for collaboration between our two cities and we are excited to partner with the City of New York on this major initiative to drive the creation of cybersecurity innovations to help small businesses across both regions."

“Helsinki is privileged to act as partnership city of the NYCx Cyber Moonshot Challenge. Our responsibility as cities is to provide the best possible conditions for people to work and conduct business in the safest possible environment,” said Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki. "We are committed to finding new innovative solutions to cyber challenges in collaboration with New York City and the other partners. We firmly believe that global collaboration is the key driver of groundbreaking, actionable solutions and Helsinki wants to be in the forefront of this development.”

“Cybersecurity poses a big challenge to any size business around the world, from mom-and-pop restaurants to Fortune 500 companies,” said Dr. Stefan Franzke, CEO of Berlin Partner for Business and Technology. “Like New York City companies, Berlin-based companies face this challenge on a daily basis. The threat is global and comes in every form you can imagine. That is why it is important to tackle this threat on a global level and bring the best and brightest minds from all over the world together to alleviate these dangers.”

NYCx Challenge participants can submit concepts online here with the first-round closing in early December.

NYCx is the world's first municipal program to transform urban spaces into hubs for tech collaboration, research, testing and development. New York City’s diverse population, economy and landscape offer a unique opportunity for technology companies to develop tools that improve the world. NYCx is a program in the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO). Learn more at http://nyc.gov/nycx.

NYCx Moonshot Challenges look to solve major challenges that have global applications. In keeping with that vision, the Challenge will also be supported by a consortium of international partners spanning local and national government agencies who share in the Challenge mission. International partners will encourage industry leaders to participate in the challenge and offer resources to Challenge finalists who wish to deploy their solutions abroad.

About NYCEDC
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.