A St. Louis accelerator is partnering with the South Korean government to bring cyber security startups.
SixThirty CYBER is bringing five South Korean startups to St. Louis early next month to help further develop their technologies and introduce them to those in the cyber security field. The accelerator invests $250,000 annually into cyber security startups and provides mentoring and networking opportunities.
Jay De Long, general partner, said this program is unique; instead of investing in the companies, the accelerator is working with the government of South Korea.
“They came to us and said these companies need help in the U.S. marketplace and [asked] would you participate with us to help them understand what the marketplace is like,” De Long said.
The advantage for SixThirty is extending the accelerator’s reach.
“We’re hoping to establish a brand presence in Asia and then hopefully some of these five companies will become part of an investment class next year,” he said.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was in South Korea last week and attended a ceremony for the five startups and 10 entrepreneurs who will travel to St. Louis.
“Missouri is excited to welcome these talented entrepreneurs as part of SixThirty CYBER’s and South Korea’s innovative new program,” Greitens said at the ceremony.
The five companies will work out of T-REX, the startup incubator located in downtown St. Louis. They’ll spend four weeks in St. Louis and two more weeks between Washington, D.C., and Denver.
De Long said the four weeks in St. Louis will introduce the South Korean startups to possible clients and capital opportunities. He said it will give St. Louis-based companies an opportunity to get a first look at new technologies.
“For our companies here they’re constantly on the prowl for new ways to protect their data and their domain,” he said. “And if they can do proof of concept or be a trial customer for some of this new technology that keeps them in front of the bad guys.”
The ultimate goal is that some of the companies would wind up in St. Louis. De Long said cyber security startups often put a presence in the city where their first customer is located.
“We’re going to have a competitive advantage to have those companies set up their U.S. operations right here,” he said. “Once they put shoots down then we hope they’ll grow into roots and then they’ll be long-term residents of our economy.”
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