Georgia Tech students will present their best cybersecurity research before a panel of venture capitalists and business leaders for a chance to win cash at the “Demo Day Finale” on April 13.
Five student teams representing the School of Computer Science and School of Electrical Computing & Engineering are polishing their presentations now to deliver TED-style talks before business leaders with tech investment experience in the Southeast, Europe and Middle East. Research with the best chance of commercialization or demonstrating the most impact toward resolving an industry need receives a cash prize – up to $7,000.
Work to be presented includes new cryptographic search methods, a malware detection method for IoT or embedded devices, protections for industrial control systems, spectral profiling to catch malware activity, and a model for software engineering policy requirements.
For last year’s inaugural winner – Musheer Ahmed – the event was a springboard to successfully launch FraudScope, a healthcare fraud detection system based upon algorithms he developed as a Ph.D. student.
After winning Demo Day Finale, Ahmed went on to collect more than $400,000 in seed funding in less than three months. He won the Atlanta Start-up Battle, the Technology Association of Georgia's Biz Launch Competition, and more. The quick success allowed him to invest in a better user interface design, hire staff, and begin marketing his product at health and technology industry trade shows.
The Demo Day Finale is hosted by the Institute for Information Security & Privacy (IISP) and aims to give students an early introduction to potential investors as they continue their research or as they are ready to move it to market.
“During the course of research, it can be difficult for entrepreneurial students to know how industry may react to a finished project,” says Wenke Lee, co-director of the IISP and a professor in the School of Computer Science who has successfully transferred research to private corporations. “The Demo Day Finale lets students share ideas underway with active investors so they can receive early stage feedback that will inform research directions, the future application of it, or market considerations. This is one way we think the Institute for Information Security & Privacy can help move solutions to market that will improve the security or privacy of our identities, data, and devices.”
While Ahmed was eager to launch his business as soon as possible, last year’s second place winner -- ID for Web -- used the experience to get an early “gut” reaction from business investors as they tried to create a more secure form of identity validation online. Their Demo Day presentation led to an invitation from start-up accelerator CyberLaunch, where they spent summer 2016 discovering the best application of their technology by talking to both potential customers and investors.
"The summer at CyberLaunch put us in touch with business leaders from many different industries, and got us a lot of validation to the relevance of our technology; everybody agrees the current authentication mechanisms are a huge pain to both users and service providers,” said Simon Chung, a postdoctoral researcher. “Their eyes light up when we say we're trying to get rid of passwords. Also, since our technology can be used to solve many real-world problems, this process helped us find the best use of our technology and focus on developing our first end-to-end prototype system.”
Judges at the Spring '17 Demo Day Finale on April 13 will include investors Jeff Garbers and Harold Solomon of Venture Lab, and Thiago Olson of ATDC. The public is invited to attend and vote for a People's Choice winner.