cybersecurity generic
Cybersecurity remains a growing field for companies and investors. Reuters

Within the past few years, the cybersecurity field has seen strong growth thanks to businesses that are more aware about the threats that can come from hackers. At the same time, the market has seen a similar boom in interest from venture capital firms who want to invest in the space.

As the founder of Secure Octane, Mahendra Ramsinghani has been an active part of the San Francisco-based cybersecurity fund. Secure Octane’s portfolio has included cybersecurity companies such as Tigera, Demisto and Jask. Outside of Secure Octane, Ramsinghani is also the organizer of Bay Area Security Startups, a monthly meetup that includes more than 500 members. He previously worked as director for venture capital at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and managing director at the Detroit-based First Step Fund.

International Business Times spoke with Ramsinghani about trends in the cybersecurity venture space and what investors in the market should be paying attention to.

IBT: Within the venture capital space, what areas of focus are you generally seeing among investors lately?

Ramsinghani: Lately, the investors are focussing on (a) automation / machine learning and (b) data security. For example, the EU regulators are driving the adoption of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and companies that are non compliant could face severe penalties.

Newsweek is hosting a Structure Security Event in San Francisco, Sept. 26-27. Newsweek Media Group

As cybersecurity becomes a more pressing concern for companies, how do you see the cybersecurity venture market shifting in the future to meet this growing demand?

The venture market needs to mature and scale up. With respect to maturity, I feel a lot of investors jump into cyber, expecting quick returns - that will not happen. Also, cyber barely attracts around $4 billion a year or 5 percent of all venture capital dollars invested - this is a small amount compared to $150 billion annual spend. There is room for a lot more investors.

What’s one cybersecurity issue that businesses should be paying attention to?

Protecting consumers who do not wish, or are unable to pay for security. They are often the weakest link - it's a weird dysfunction of the marketplace.