About the RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest


 Hugh Thompson photoHUGH THOMPSON
Program Committee, RSA Conference
Esteemed expert on IT Security, RSA Conference is happy to have Dr. Herbert (Hugh) Thompson emcee the RSAC 2019 Innovation Sandbox Contest.


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. Below is the 2019 panel of judges. 

Asheem Chandra

Partner, Greylock Partners

Asheem Chandna is a Partner at Greylock Partners and has been listed in the Forbes Midas List the last seven 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 Avi Networks, Awake Security, Delphix, Innovium, Obsidian Security, Palo Alto Networks (PANW) and Rubrik.  Previous company boards and/or investments include AppDynamics (CSCO), Aquantia (AQ), Arista Networks (ANET), Aruba Networks (ARUN), CipherTrust (INTC), Imperva (IMPV), NetBoost (INTC), PortAuthority Technologies (WBSN), Securent (CSCO), Sourcefire (CSCO), Skyhigh Networks (McAfee), Sumo Logic, TechProcess (Ingenico), Xsigo Systems (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.

Patrick Heim

Operating Partner and Chief Information Security Officer, ClearSky

Patrick Heim is a senior executive with over two decades working in security spanning Fortune 500 enterprises, cloud providers as well as early stage security technology companies. He joined ClearSky, a venture fund focused on security investments in early 2017.  Prior to joining ClearSky, Patrick was Head of Trust and Security at Dropbox. He also served as Senior Vice President and Chief Trust Officer at  Patrick has held Chief Information Security Officer roles at Kaiser Permanente and McKesson Corporation. In the startup world, he has served as Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at eNetSecure (a subsidiary of Applied Signal Technologies/Raytheon). He has also previously held senior positions at nCircle and Ernst & Young. Patrick holds a B.S. from Indiana University in marketing as well as an MBA in international business/finance from the University of South Carolina.  He currently serves as a director for Preempt Security and Ticto and has previously served on the boards of Cylance, Solebit, and BigID. 


Cybersecurity Entrepreneur and Investor

Niloofar Razi Howe has been an investor, executive and entrepreneur in the technology industry for the past 25 years, with a focus on Cybersecurity for the past ten. Most recently Niloofar served as Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations at RSA, a global cybersecurity company where she led corporate strategy, corporate development and planning, business development, global program management, business operations, security operations and Federal business development. Prior to RSA, Niloofar served as the Chief Strategy Officer of Endgame, Inc., a leading enterprise software security company. Prior to her operating roles, she spent twelve years leading deal teams in private equity and venture capital; first as a Principal at Zone Ventures and then as Managing Director at Paladin Capital Group. She also created a TEDx talk entitled “The Gift of Exile” about the long-term opportunities that can arise from the most difficult challenges encountered in life and the importance of embracing diversity and seeking diverse perspectives. Ms. Howe graduated with honors from Columbia College, holds a JD from Harvard Law School, and is a life member at the Council on Foreign Relations.  


CEO and Co-Founder, Cato Networks

Shlomo Kramer is co-founder and CEO of Cato Networks. He is a network security expert and a serial entrepreneur. Shlomo has co-founded Check Point Software, who created the first commercial Firewall, and Imperva, the innovator of the Web Application Firewall. Shlomo has made early investments in successful cybersecurity companies including Palo Alto Networks, Trusteer and numerous others. He was named CEO of the Year by SC Magazine in 2008, one of “20 luminaries who changed the network industry” by Network World in 2006 and was inducted into the InfoSec Hall of Fame in April 2013. Shlomo holds a master’s degree in computer science from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and computer science from Tel Aviv University.

Richard Seiersen

CISO, Author and Advisor

Richard Seiersen is a CISO, author and startup advisor.  He was most recently CISO/SVP at LendingClub, previously CISO/VP Trust Twilio and VP Cybersecurity & Privacy GE Healthcare. He is the co-author of “How To Measure Anything In Cybersecurity Risk” (Wiley 2016) and working on his second book “The Metrics Manifesto: Confronting Security With Data” (Wiley 2019).  His first book has the distinction of being the only security book that is required reading for the society of actuaries exam.  He also is active in security education and is an instructor with Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute training DoD and industry security leaders on security metrics. He’s also a faculty member with the Institute for Applied Information Security (IANS) supporting their community of CISOs and teams on metrics, risk and strategy.

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

RSAC Innovation Sandbox Contest has promoted new approaches to today’s problems and tomorrow’s threats for 13 years. With an illustrious panel of judges representing CISOs, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs, the top 10 competing companies gain advice and counsel in addition to valuable exposure for their solution. Past winners of this contest have received investment within 12 months of winning the prize and many have gone on to an IPO or buy out. Check out how well finalists and winners have fared by viewing the RSAC Innovation Sandbox Leaderboard.

Ready to be crowned Most Innovative Startup 2019? Here are some tips on what to do and what not to do as you put together your submission.


Tell a story. You started this company because you recognized a problem and believed you had the solution. Be compelling and passionate when telling the story about your company and product to the judges’ panel so they can feel invested too!

Highlight your management team and their past successes. The judges are experts who want to know that your team has grit and knows how to work through the challenges of starting a company.

Demonstrate that your business plan is executable. What is your go to market strategy? 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.


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 value. Submissions that do not have a 3-minute video will be automatically disqualified.

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 the completion of a submission.

Wait until the last day to submit. We know things are hectic, but give yourself time to provide thoughtful and detailed answers. A well thought out submission can get you one step closer to winning the contest.


View RSAC Innovation Sandbox Terms and Conditions.

This document was retrieved from on Sat, 25 May 2019 15:45:25 -0400.