Last week, Turkey rose to the top of the list of countries that were hit by cyberattacks. Banking and financial institutions, as well as energy and telecom infrastructures, are under this threat. Institutions such as Türk Telekom must support cybersecurity startups. PİLOT, Türk Telekom's venture acceleration program, is also a platform open to collaborating with these startups. Cybersecurity necessitates a struggle that requires continuity, high-quality human resources, and high technology accumulation. That is why we need cybersecurity startups around the world that know all the threats and develop new methods accordingly. Moreover, these startups should continue to receive investment to grow both their numbers and the human resources they have access to. Cyberattacks directly affect daily life because nowadays the internet is a part of every sphere of life through channels such as 5G and the internet of things (IoT). During such attacks, POS machines become inoperable, and the speed and quality of the service we receive over the internet begins to decline.
Domestic cybersecurity startup Picus Security was able to receive EarlyBird's support on the Series A investment tour, making significant efforts to grow and gain global experience. Picus Security, which made it on Gartner's prestigious list of Cool Vendors in October 2019 as one of the five cybersecurity companies, received an investment of $5 million from EarlyBird.
Turkey's most significant investment development in the recent period has taken place in the security sector with Picus Security. The firm aims to develop Turkey's cybersecurity potential on a global scale.
Picus Security further intends to increase its international competitiveness in cybersecurity with the EarlyBird investment. Having accelerated its growth process in 2017 with a $1.7 million seed investment, including ACT, and ScaleX, and angel investors Steve Ciesinski and Melih Ödemiş, Picus Security completed its Series A investment tour with EarlyBird's $5 million investment. After moving the company's headquarters to the U.K., it is taking firm steps toward becoming a global cybersecurity company.
Picus Security, which plans to focus on the U.K., Germany, Italy, and the Middle East, as well as the U.S., concentrates on consolidating its position as the pioneer of attack simulation technologies at an international level. By detecting future threats before the attacks occur, the system simplifies preparation through simulations, which in turn makes risk areas easier to identify and take preventive pre-attack measures.
Hamdi Alper Memiş, the founder and CEO of Picus Security, commented on the new investment, saying they aim to be an independent and reliable brand in the global market.
"Our selection as a Cool Vendor by Gartner, our customers in Europe and our strategic investment with EarlyBird, one of the leading mutual funds in Europe, shows that we are on the right track with the right vision," Memiş said. "As a result of these developments, research activities carried out by Picus Labs will increase, and we will reach our target of becoming a widely-known and esteemed cybersecurity research center in the world."
INVESTMENT IN HUMAN RESOURCES
Alper Memiş further emphasized the goal of making Picus a global player. "The success of our customers is very crucial to us. We are also expanding our engineering and service teams to grow and maintain the quality of our products with an increasing number of customers and expanding geographical coverage," he continued. "With the Engineering Base we will form within this scope, we will increase opportunities for development and effective operation. The Cyber Security Center and Engineering Base we will establish will also constitute an important muscle for developing new solutions in the field of cybersecurity. Our goal is to develop new innovative ideas as we do in the field of Attack Simulation."
Memiş stated that they are proud to write a global success story originating from Turkey in the cybersecurity market dominated by U.S. and Israeli companies. "With the engineers of this country, we're solving a difficult problem in the field of cybersecurity," Memiş stressed. "Our selection as a Cool Vendor by Gartner and our customers in Europe show that we are well placed in terms of technology and vision. With the strategic investment we have made with EarlyBird, one of the leading mutual funds in Europe, we aim to reach much better places in the European and American markets."
Named one of the top five companies spurring innovation in cybersecurity in 2019, Picus Security simulates cyberattacks as the digital transformation process progresses rapidly. The firm details the risk situation of corporations and offers them improvement suggestions for eliminating the identified risks. All these breakthroughs are seen as the reason behind Picus' success.
Picus, selected by the PwC as one of the top ten innovative cybersecurity firms, has been described by Endeavor as a startup that can make a global impact among hundreds of companies. It was also selected by Cyber Defense Magazine as one of the most innovative startups of 2019, and it continues to succeed and stand out from its competitors. Memiş noted that they have broken the mould in the field of cybersecurity and made some recommendations to Turkish entrepreneurs, saying the startups, which passed the early stage, proved that they could succeed in the scale-up stage by focusing on different markets. "The more scalable and a healthy structure you form in the beginning stage in Turkey, the more easily you will be able to expand into overseas markets," he added.
APPSILON GETS 1 MILLION EURO INVESTMENT
The Appsilon Enterprise received a new investment worth 1 million euros ($1.2 million) during the tour led by Hande Enes. Appsilon Enterprise, which produces diamonds in the laboratory, has increased the total investment amount with this tour to 2.5 million euros.
Startups that radically change the competitive conditions in the field they are entering increase our ability to do business in the next generation. Appsilon Enterprise is one of the few companies worldwide capable of performing diamond synthesis in a laboratory environment. Established in 2017 at Cube Incubation, the incubation center of Teknopark Istanbul, the startup increased the total investment amount to 2.5 million euros along with the previous 1.5-million euro investment. Appsilon Enterprise executives say that this investment is a good source of motivation for the Series A tour they are currently focusing on, adding they will use the new investment to develop technologies that will further enhance their diamond production capabilities.
Appsilon Enterprise, as the only startup capable of producing diamonds in the laboratory in Turkey, is one of the few companies capable of performing diamond synthesis in the world. Appsilon Enterprise is taking firm steps to become one of the world's leading technology companies with an investment of 1 million euros before the Series A investment.
The diamonds produced in the laboratory with high technology can be used in the defense industry, health, industry and electronics fields, as well as the jewelry sector. Thanks to its technology in diamond production processes, Appsilon can also control the properties of the diamond it produces, which enables the company to produce the material needed in high-tech areas.
The company, which also exports to diamond centers such as the United States, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom, Israel, India and Hong Kong as one of the leading manufacturers in this field, is listed under the heading of startups that change the production of luxury products in a report prepared by CB Insights, which prepares analysis and reports to investors.
With this new investment, Appsilon intends to accelerate its research and development (R&D) processes, become one of the leading technology companies in the world in the field of diamond technology, and strengthen its areas of success with its products. The startup, which is also gearing up for the Series A tour, aims to increase its production capacity with the new investment tour.
A DOSE OF COURAGE FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
İş Bank and the Turkish Entrepreneurship Foundation (Girvak) work together to encourage entrepreneurship at an early age. These two institutions have decided to increase their joint efforts to encourage entrepreneurship at a young age.
The best way to increase and scale the number of technology startups is through investment in people. At the basis of the cooperation that brings İş Bank and Girvak together is the mission and common values they undertake to contribute to the development of entrepreneurship in Turkey. Both entities are engaged in joint activities, believing in the importance of encouraging young people to develop their entrepreneurial spirit from a younger age and for their future.
Speaking at a press conference held to discuss the cooperation between İş Bank and Girvak, İş Bank Executive Vice President Yalçın Sezen stated that they consider supporting entrepreneurs, who become important players of today's production network, as a duty to create value for Turkey. Sezen also spoke about the structures they established to support the entrepreneurs.
"Under Workup, which we are the main supporters of, we have been conducting a long-term program of training and mentoring for entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas and grow their business. In order to reach the customer, the greatest need of a startup that is trying to step into the business, we connect our customers with the customer network of both our bank and our subsidiaries, helping them make room for themselves in the world of entrepreneurship," Sezen said. "We have had 40 graduates from the Workup program in the last four periods. In the fifth period, 10 startups still continue their projects. In 2019, the Maxis Innovative Venture Capital Investment Fund, which we established under İş Bank to provide the investment opportunities needed by early-stage startups, invested in Kolay İK and Mutlubiev, two of the leading ventures of Turkey."
Sezen continued, "As İş Bank, one of our mottos is 'Those not touching human beings cannot touch numbers.' Girvak Fellows also supported the Workup Entrepreneurship Program. In four different periods of Workup, Girvak Fellows joined the program to develop their business ideas through their startups. We agreed to continue our partnership in 2020 as well. We are aware of the importance of developing the spirit of entrepreneurship and encouraging our young people born in the digital world for our future. I wish that what we will make on this path alongside Girvak will lead to new beautiful stories."
INVESTMENT IN PEOPLE, NOT JUST IDEAS
Girvak Chairman Sina Afra also assessed the cooperation. "The Fellow Program, the main program of our Foundation, works with young people aged 17-24 to develop an entrepreneurial culture in Turkey. We aim to promote entrepreneurship culture, inspire university youth, and enable young people to leave their mark in their own way," Afra noted. "Since the main objective of the program is to support young people with entrepreneurial potential, we invest in people, not ideas. Our goal is to increase the proportion of young people wishing to be an entrepreneur after graduating from university to around 30%. In this journey, our cooperation with İşbank, which invests in the future to ensure the sustainability of social development and progress and attaches special importance to education, is very valuable for us. We are very happy and excited that İş Bank is the main supporter of our foundation."