BECO Capital, a regional venture capital firm focused on technology investments in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, today announced during the Arabnet Conference taking place in Beirut that it has invested in MYKI, a Beirut-based cyber security startup that has developed the first advanced password and online identity manager in the region. The solution provides frictionless and secured access to online services through the smartphone. Its mobile solution removes the need to manually type in credentials every time a user logs in to a different account online, and also offers a secure password management solution.
BECO Capital’s seed investment will assist MYKI in their product development and in a faster go-to-market strategy. The move marks BECO Capital’s first investment in a cyber security technology firm since it was launched four years ago. Lebanon-based B&Y Venture Partners also took part in this seed investment round.
Amir Farha, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of BECO Capital, says: “With MYKI, we are starting to witness local innovations for global problems. Cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are affecting nearly 90% of individuals and large organisations around the world. They are costing consumers and companies more than US$ 445 billion, annually, which is only expected to grow as online information stealing expands with increased Internet use. MYKI is one of the players well-positioned to build a global company and solve this universal problem, starting from the region. The founders are exceptional Arab entrepreneurs who are passionate about their original invention and are building a transformational solution targeting a large and rapidly growing market.”
With the meteoric proliferation of technological solutions, smartphones and the penetration of the internet in all industry sectors, cyber threats are growing. Individuals, enterprises and governments are allocating more of their budgets and increasing their investments in private companies across the cybersecurity ecosystem. Over the last five years, US$ 7.3 billion investments went into cybersecurity start-ups.
Amir Farha adds: “This partnership with MYKI is opportune given the growth of venture investments into cybersecurity companies.”
Antoine Vincent Jebara, Co-founder at MYKI says: “We are looking forward to working closely with BECO Capital and taking our company to the next level. This early stage investment is a vote of confidence from BECO Capital and is a great boost for us. It will help us enhance our solution and grow and scale the company in the region and abroad. Together with BECO Capital and B&Y Venture Partners, we are very passionate about building the next winner from the tech start-up community in the region and to take it globally.”
Figures show that the global cyber security market is expected to be worth US$ 170 billion by 2020. The market is estimated to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.8% from 2015 to 2020. Looking closer at the region, the cyber security market of the Middle East and African region is expected to grow to US$ 13.43 billion by 2019. The UAE ranks 17th in the world, ahead of countries such as Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. The index measures cyber security aspects such as legislation, regulation and compliance, capacity building, and international cooperation. The Middle Eastern region, in general, has witnessed a surge in the number of requests to develop robust and resilient solutions to help in the quest for better internet security. The region has great potential to graduate winners such as MYKI with products able to tackle regional and global problems like these.
Priscilla Elora Sharuk, Co-founder at MYKI says: “MYKI is a revolutionary solution that eliminates 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. Our goal was not just to take the project from the concept to the execution stage, but to touch people by simplifying their everyday lives and showing them the possibilities. With the help and back up of BECO Capital, we will be able to do that on a wider scale. As a designer with a background in engineering and a female entrepreneur in the Middle East, I strive to keep enhancing our product and making an impact with a focus on optimisation and sustainability.”
The market that MYKI is tackling is the multi factor authentication market, which is forecasted to develop to US$ 5.5 billion by 2017. The market is still nascent but shows great potential to move in an upward trajectory. This represents a great opportunity for MYKI and BECO Capital to lead this growth.