RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest has been selecting the most innovative information security companies and products for the past 11 years. Previous RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest victors have garnered venture capital investment, large company buyout and increased media coverage. RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest has rewarded a range of information security solutions, including cloud security, mobile and app security, physical security and analytics. 

In addition, the Innovation Sandbox Contest on-site program includes valuable content on how to establish a start-up, start-up trends and the future of information security.


Esteemed expert on IT Security, RSA Conference is happy to have Dr. Herbert (Hugh) Thompson emcee the Innovation Sandbox Contest.

 Hugh Thompson

Hugh Thompson, Program Committee, RSA Conference


To ensure that the contestants have the best chance of success, RSAC carefully selects judges from venture capital enterprises, entrepreneurs and large security companies, who will choose the winner of RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest 2017. Below are the 2017 panel of judges. 

Asheem Chandra

Asheem Chandra, Partner, Greylock Partners

Asheem Chandna is a Partner at Greylock Partners and has been listed in the Forbes Midas List the last 4 years. He focuses on company investments in enterprise technology, and has two decades of industry experience in the security sector. Asheem has helped create and grow multiple technology businesses to market-leading positions. His current company boards include AppDynamics, Avi Networks, Awake Networks, Delphix, Rubrik, Skyhigh Networks and Palo Alto Networks (PANW).  His prior company investments and/or boards include Arista Networks (ANET), CipherTrust (INTC), Imperva (IMPV), NetBoost (INTC), PortAuthority (WBSN), Securent (CSCO), Sourcefire (CSCO), Xsigo (ORCL) and Zenprise (CTXS). Asheem joined Greylock in 2003 from Check Point Software, where he was vice-president of business development and product management. Follow on Twitter @chandna.

Gerhard Eschelbeck

Gerhard Eschelbeck, Vice President Security and Privacy Engineering, Google

Gerhard Eschelbeck is Vice President Security and Privacy Engineering at Google, where he leads the teams that ensure data and systems security, as well as user privacy.  Gerhard has a passion for championing new technologies and is a trusted advisor to a number of early stage startup companies. He published the “Laws of Vulnerabilities” and is one of the inventors of the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), and holds numerous patents in the field of managed network security. Prior to joining Google, Gerhard was CTO and Senior Vice President at Sophos and Qualys, and served in senior product and technology roles at companies including Network Associates and McAfee. Gerhard has a Ph.D in computer science from University Linz, Austria.

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Niloofar Razi Howe, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, RSA Corp.

Ms. Howe leads the overall RSA corporate strategy, development, and planning. She comes to RSA with more than 25 years' experience working and investing in the technology industry, with a particular focus on the security industry over the past decade. Before RSA, Ms. Howe was the Chief Strategy Officer at Endgame where she drove market and product strategy, and lead marketing, product management, corporate development and planning. Prior to Endgame, she spent nine years as Managing Director of Paladin Capital Group, a $1 billion private equity fund focused on investing in the national security sector. At Paladin she led the development and implementation of Paladin's family of funds investment strategies, oversaw early, growth, and late-stage investments as well as buyouts from the Paladin's investment portfolio. Previously she worked at Zone Ventures, as a consultant with McKinsey & Co., and as a lawyer with O'Melveny & Myers.

Patrick Heim

Patrick Heim, Head of Trust & Security, Dropbox

Patrick Heim is the Head of Trust & Security at Dropbox, where he manages security and compliance for both the company and its service.

Patrick joined Dropbox in January 2015 with over 20 years of information security and technology experience. Previously, he served as Chief Trust Officer at, where he built and ran a world-class security team that contributed to making Salesforce one of the most trusted enterprise cloud vendors. Patrick also held Chief Information Security Officer positions at Kaiser Permanente and McKesson Corporation, and senior positions at Ernst & Young and two early stage security technology companies. Patrick advises security startups and serves on the board of directors at Cylance.

Paul Kocher

Paul Kocher, President and Chief Scientist, Crytography Research Division of Rambus

Paul Kocher has designed numerous cryptographic applications and protocols which are successfully deployed in real world systems. His work has included co-authoring the widely used SSL 3.0 standard and discovering Differential Power Analysis. A major focus of his current work is to improve the security foundations provided by complex semiconductor chips, with the aim of harnessing the advances fueled by Moore’s law to improve (rather than undermine) security. Kocher holds a bachelor of science degree from Stanford University and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2009.

Dos & Don’ts for Submitting to RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest

Celebrating 11 years of choosing impactful information security solutions, RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest is poised to crown the Most Innovative Startup 2017.  Innovation Sandbox promotes new approaches to today’s problems and tomorrow’s threats.  With an illustrious panel of judges representing CISOs, Venture Capitalists, and Entrepreneurs, the top 10 competing companies will gain advice and counsel in addition to exposing RSA Conference community to their solution. Past winners of this contest have all received investment within 12 months of winning the prize and many went on to an IPO like Invicea or buy out from Cisco like Sourcefire or Juniper like Altor Networks.  Check out the full list of past winners at our Innovation Sandbox Gallery of Victors page.

The “Do” List

  • Tell a Story. You started this company because you recognized a problem and believed you had the solution… Be as compelling and passionate when telling your story the judges panel of industry veterans and VC about your company and product so they can believe it too!

  • Highlight Your Management Team and their past successes. The panel of judges are experts who want to know that you team has grit and knows how to work through the challenges associated with starting up a company.

  • Demonstrate that Your Business Plan is Executable. What is your go to market strategy and have you identified the resources necessary to execute it?  If not, what are you missing and how can you overcome the obstacles that might inhibit your success.

  • Have Fun. This is a contest after all!  Let’s enjoy the experience and learn from the process!

The “Don’t” List

  • Worry about the Production Quality of Your Video Submission. The panel understands the constraints of the startup world and will not be looking for Hollywood production values.

  • Leave a Question Blank. All submissions are kept confidential so please answer the questionnaire in its entirety. With the number of submissions generated each year we make first cuts based on completion of submission.

  • Wait Until the Last Day to Submit. We know things are hectic, but the earlier you complete your submission, that leaves one less thing to do and get’s you one step closer to winning the contest.

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