Cybersecurity expert Trend Micro to pump money into IoT start-ups

28 Jun 2017

Image: mrmohock/Shutterstock

Trend Micro is changing tack a little, with a new $100m fund created by the cybersecurity company to invest in IoT.

The internet of things (IoT) is, at this stage, a terribly broad concept. However, buried within a world of sensors and data lie some truly innovative start-ups.

Whether it’s utility monitoring, entertainment gadgets that explode onto the scene, or clever ways to track stock from farm to fork, the ideas are endless.

Future Human

It’s this endlessness that produces so many failures, though Trend Micro thinks it has what it takes to find the gold-plated needles among haystacks of questionable ideas.

Trend Micro

Armed with a new $100m fund, the company is on the hunt for “a portfolio of start-ups that are developing ideas and living at the epicentre of hyper-growth markets”.

Trend Micro hopes the funding, as well as access to its 28,000 partners, will be an attractive proposition for start-ups. Being attractive is key as, despite there being an abundance of start-ups to choose from, there are more than enough rival investors doing the rounds.

“We have a 29-year history of successfully anticipating technology trends to secure all types of environments,” said Eva Chen, co-founder and CEO of Trend Micro.

Chen said the company caught its first wave on the growth of the PC marketplace, with cloud computing offering the next trend. The third, though, is interlinked, as IoT is Trend Micro’s new focus.

“Trend Micro’s vision has always been to make the world safe for exchanging digital information,” said Chen.

“The explosion of devices is transforming how the world works, thinks and acts. It is clear that the ecosystem is still evolving and there is work to do to ensure organisations and individuals can operate and live safely in this new reality.”

Backing the right dog, though, will prove tricky for Trend Micro.

A recent report from Cisco found that more than one-third of all IoT projects fail to get beyond the proof-of-concept phase, with marginally more than one-quarter becoming a success.

“It’s not for lack of trying. But there are plenty of things we can do to get more projects out of pilot and to complete success,” said Rowan Trollope, Cisco’s SVP and GM of IoT.

The study showed how strong an effect ‘human factors’ can have on the success of projects, with everything from culture to leadership pivotal in the early stages of development. Elsewhere, going it alone was highlighted as a big problem.

Inbar Lasser-Raab, VP of Cisco products and solutions marketing for enterprise, added: “Where we see most of the opportunity is where we partner with other vendors and create solutions that are not only connected but also share data.

“That shared data is the basis of a network of industries; sharing of insights to make tremendous gains for business and society, because no one company can solve this alone.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic