DataTribe Announces Fourth Annual Cybersecurity Start-Up Challenge

Finalists split a $20,000 prize and winner is eligible for up to $2 million in seed financing

FULTON, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–DataTribe, a global cyber foundry that invests in and co-builds next-generation cybersecurity and data science companies, announced today the launch of its fourth-annual DataTribe Challenge. The competition is poised to identify and curate Pre-Series A, seed high-technology start-ups with a vision to disrupt cybersecurity and data science.

Three finalists will split $20,000 in prize money, and one winner will be eligible to receive up to $2 million in seed capital from DataTribe. The winner of the 2020 Challenge was SightGain, the only cybersecurity risk management platform that tests and analyzes organizational readiness – across people, process, and technology.

“In our four years of putting on this Challenge, we have seen incredibly impressive entrepreneurs and technologies that are charting the future of cyber. This year, we look forward to once again providing entrepreneurs a platform to share over-the-horizon technologies with the industry, to gain valuable feedback, and to potentially raise a seed round,” said John Funge, Managing Director of DataTribe.

Mike Janke, Co-founder of DataTribe said, “The DataTribe Challenge is the foremost cybersecurity startup competition in the world. The founders that participate and ideas that are presented are truly inspiring. We’re honored to be able to leverage DataTribe’s resources to give phenomenal entrepreneurs like these an unfair advantage as we co-build a new generation of market-leading companies.”

In June 2021, Synopsys acquired the winner of the 2019 Challenge, Code Dx, a software security testing orchestration, correlation, and prioritization platform. The exit was a demonstration of the Challenge’s ability to draw top cybersecurity solutions, as well as of the success of the DataTribe model of partnering with over the horizon technology coming out of national security agencies.

DataTribe invites contestants to join the Challenge that have developed a robust concept and/or initiated development of a minimal viable product (MVP) – i.e., a product developed with sufficient features to entice early adopters. The firm anticipates a strong showing from teams with experience working in national security, defense, national laboratories, or at organizations specializing in cybersecurity and data science R&D.

Applicants will have until October 1, 2021 to enter an application. DataTribe will review submissions for technical merit, market potential, and readiness of the team. On October 14, 2021, DataTribe will announce up to three finalists. These teams will then have 2.5 weeks to refine their pitch and prepare for final judging, with assistance from DataTribe’s team of startup veterans. In a live event, finalists will present a pitch and answer questions from judges on November 3, 2021.

Judges Include:

  • Bob Ackerman, Founder & Managing Director of AllegisCyber and Co-founder, DataTribe
  • Arno Van Der Walt, CISO at Marriott International
  • Navin Maharaj, Director at Koch Disruptive Technologies
  • Ron Gula, President and Co-Founder of Gula Tech Adventures; Co-founder of Tenable
  • Shamla Naidoo, Head of Cloud Security, Netskope, Former Global CISO, IBM

“Winning the 2020 DataTribe Challenge was a big catalyst for SightGain achieving product and market momentum needed to bring on new customers,” said Christian Sorrenson, SightGain Founder and CEO. “Through DataTribe’s unique foundry approach, SightGain reaps the knowledge, trust, and expertise of partners who have taken companies through meaningful exits.”

To apply for the 2021 DataTribe Challenge, please visit:

About DataTribe

DataTribe is a startup foundry that invests in and co-builds world-class startups focused on generational leaps in cybersecurity and data science. DataTribe was launched in 2015 with the vision of empowering technologists in the Washington, D.C. region to build and grow successful companies.

Founded by leading investors, startup veterans and alumni of the U.S. intelligence community, DataTribe commits capital, in-kind business services and decades of professional expertise to co-build the next generation of cybersecurity, big data and analytics companies. DataTribe is headquartered in Fulton, MD. For more information, visit


Danielle Ostrovsky

Hi-Touch PR