Beco Capital has led a seed investment in Lebanese cyber security startup MYKI, but has not disclosed the total sum.
Myki works with multi-factor identification, a market that in the Middle East was worth $5.17 billion in 2014. The startup has developed an “advanced password and online identity manager” for smartphones, which allows users to securely access different accounts without having to type in their login details each time.
Myki cofounder Priscilla Elora Sharuk said the company’s product effectively eliminated the need for usernames and passwords. “What started as an idea, flourished into a working model that could change the way people use technology in their lives and will soon be available for the masses.”
The investment would help the startup with product development and speed up their commercialization strategy, Beco said in a statement.
Beco cofounder and managing director Amir Farha said that given the problem Myki was solving, it was well positioned to become a global company.
“With Myki, we are starting to witness local innovations for global problems. Cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are affecting nearly 90 percent of individuals and large organisations around the world. They are costing consumers and companies more than $445 billion, annually, which is only expected to grow as online information stealing expands with increased Internet use,” he said in the statement.
The investment is Beco’s first in cyber security. Lebanon-based B&Y Partners also took part.
This is a market where startups such as Okta, Tenable Network Security and Tanium are being valued north of $1 billion, and where companies working with the alternative currency Bitcoin are well ahead of the curve, offering multi-factor logins or ‘multi signatures’.
According to US research firm CB Insights, 77 percent of venture deals in this space were in the US, followed by Israel, the UK, Canada, Germany, India and China, respectively. Last year saw $338 billion of investments in 332 deals, compared to $1.1 billion and 166 deals in 2011.
A report by Markets and Markets suggests the cyber security market in the Middle East could be worth $9.56 billion by 2019, a compound annual growth rate from 2014 of 13.07 percent.
Figures supplied by Beco from Hemanshu “Hemu” Nigam, founder of security advisory firm SSP Blue, suggest the global market will be worth $170 billion by 2020.