The Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst is receiving $16 million in renewed funding from founding partners Rogers Communications and RBC.
Rogers invested $15 million over the next five years while RBC provided an investment of $1 million, bringing the cybersecurity hub’s total funding over $56 million. The new investment is aimed to support the hub’s workforce training programs and research.
“The cybersecurity landscape is evolving every day. And that means our approach to protecting Canadians today is different than it was five years ago and will be vastly different 10 years from now. Having a highly trained cyber workforce is critical to Canada’s success,” RBC’s chief information security officer Adam Evans said in a statement.
Catalyst launched in 2018 as a national centre for cybersecurity out of Toronto Metropolitan University (then Ryerson University) to promote training, research, and commercial innovation in the field of cybersecurity.
In 2019, the hub received a total of $30 million from public and private investors and changed its name to the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst. Rogers and RBC contributed $10 million and $5 million at the time, respectively, while contributions from FedDev Ontario and the City of Brampton made up the remaining $15 million.
In 2020, Catalyst launched the Catalyst Cyber Accelerator alongside Ryerson’s DMZ, giving cohorts of cybersecurity companies access to DMZ’s accelerator programming such as product strategy mentorship, talent acquisition, investment attraction, and growing sales and marketing.
Catalyst claims over 7,000 people and over 500 businesses have participated in its cybersecurity training programs, workshops, and the accelerator over the past five years.
“We look forward to continuing to play a pivotal role in building a diverse and inclusive future for cybersecurity, tackle the new challenges posed by the likes of AI and Quantum computing, and create a cyber-resilient future for all Canadians,” Catalyst’s founding executive director Charles Finlay said in a statement.
According to data released by Crunchbase last month, cybersecurity startups raised nearly $1.9 billion through 153 deals in Q3 2023, a 12 percent increase from the previous quarter but a significant 30 percent decline from the $2.7 billion raised in Q3 2022.
MasterCard Canada said in its own report that cybercrime has increased over 600 percent since the start of the pandemic, but only 16 percent of surveyed Canadian small-to-medium business owners know what to do in the event of an attack.
Last month, Finlay joined BetaKit Live to discuss the business risks of cyberattacks and how small business and startup owners should engage with those risks. In the discussion, Finlay called cybersecurity a “competitive requirement,” adding that businesses that ignore it are directly inhibiting their growth prospects.
“If you’re going to be a vendor of any kind to a major organization, now you are going to have to show that you are cyber secure. It’s just part of doing business,” he said.
Feature image courtesy Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst via LinkedIn.