Microsoft's R&D center in Herzliya.
Microsoft's R&D center in Herzliya. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Microsoft is to open a new cybersecurity accelerator in Israel in a bid to capitalize on the country's expertise in the field, according to a report in TechWorld.

The accelerator will be a joint venture between Microsoft Ventures, the start-up arm of the tech giant, and Jerusalem Venture Partners, Israel's leading cyber security investor.

The intention is to create an environment that will help Israeli cybersecurity startups create products and services that can address some of the world's most concerning cyber security threats.

Israel has already spawned several successful security companies, including
Cyvera, Fortscale and Check Point.

During the first four-month program, set to run between September 2014 and December 2015, Microsoft will provide between six and eight start-ups with oversight and expertise from industry executives, as well as "free tools" and anything else they might need to help them deliver breakthroughs in cyber technology and services.

“Our accelerator program leverages the Microsoft worldwide footprint to give start-ups unparalleled routes to customers and partners," said Hanan Lavy, director of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator.

"We use this power to push start-ups to their success. We are eager to work closely with JVP to provide unique opportunities for entrepreneurs in our accelerator."

JVP Cyber Labs, is an early-stage investment vehicle aimed at identifying, nurturing and building the next wave of cybersecurity companies to emerge from Israel. It has pledged to give $1 million to one start-up at the end of the accelerator program, together with a place in its own incubator located in Be'er Sheva.

"We put special emphasis on working with strategic partners, such as Microsoft, to get market validation for the significant innovations we are witnessing in the cybersecurity space," said Yoav Tzruya, partner at JVP Cyber Labs.

"It is our top priority to create an ecosystem which nurtures entrepreneurs and start-ups independently of our portfolio."

The program will be run out of the existing Microsoft Accelerator facility in Tel Aviv.

Microsoft announced the accelerator programme in June 2013 and several of the 10 proposed accelerators are already up and running, including those in Bangalore, Beijing, Paris, Seattle and London. Some 119 companies have already enrolled on the Microsoft Ventures accelerator program and Microsoft claims that the vast majority of them went on to secure funding on the demo day or within six months.