Innovation Doesn’t Do Well in a Vacuum

Posted on by Sandra Toms

If you’ve attended any one of the past five or so RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contests, you probably noticed more and more companies outside of Silicon Valley taking the stage. 

Entrepreneurs from all over the country – New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago – and around the world – Belgium, Australia, France, Ireland and Israel – have submitted and pitched their products to our panel of judges, proving there are no borders when it comes to creativity and innovation.                                                                                            

With every contest, the top 10 finalists prove more difficult to choose. But the winners? They’re making a name for themselves alright. In the past five years alone, the contest’s top 10 finalists have collectively seen 12 acquisitions and have received over $2.05 billion in investments. 

So what’s to come at the 14th annual RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest? We expect to see a multitude of different regions represented among applicants. Israel, for example, has been represented in 3 of the past 5 RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contests, so we anticipate submissions from that booming cyber hub. We also expect to see more submissions funnel in from the East Coast—38% of Massachusetts residents, for example, work in the innovation economy, according to MassTech, and the area continues to be a hotbed for progress in our industry. 

It’s easy to say that we need more innovation in our industry, but it’s another to give bold thinkers a venue to strut their stuff and get people talking. We intend on bringing the best of the best start-ups to the stage on Monday, March 4. So if you think you have what it takes to compete in RSAC Innovation Sandbox, your company has until December 4 to submit an application. 

But the innovation program at RSA Conference 2019 won’t just expand regionally. We’re excited to introduce a brand new program that will broaden the opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators at earlier stages of growth. The first-ever RSAC Launch Pad will give three chosen security innovators the coveted opportunity to pitch their company to three high-profile venture capitalists in a Shark Tank®-style format. If the prominent VCs like the 10-minute pitch, participants could go home with real funding and support to expedite their company’s growth.                                       

Adding RSAC Launch Pad to our innovation programming this year illustrates our commitment to bringing a wide variety of people, content and ideas to the table to address the growing cyberthreat around the world. We want to open up more opportunities for creative thinkers to show off the hard work they are doing daily to make our virtual and physical world safer. Innovation can’t happen in a vacuum; it can’t happen without the collective brainpower of all of us. 

For all entrepreneurs at all stages of their careers, I want to thank you for what you’re doing to defend against the cyberthreats of tomorrow. Without creative thinkers like you, our industry would quickly fall behind. We celebrate your work and we wish all of the companies submitting to the RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest and RSAC Launch Pad the best of luck!

Sandra Toms

Vice President and Curator, RSA Conference

Business Perspectives

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