US companies Mastercard and Enel X have won a bid to establish a fintech-cybersecurity laboratory in Beersheba, securing NIS 13 million ($3.7 million) in funding to establish the facility, the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) announced Monday.
The lab is part of a collaboration between the Israel Innovation Authority, the Israel National Cyber Directorate at the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Cyber Security and Emergency Department at the Israel Ministry of Finance.
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The lab will be established within the southern Israeli city’s tech hub, adjacent to the financial center of the National Cyber Directorate, the IIA said in a statement. It will recruit research and development and cybersecurity personnel.
The lab will be entitled to receive a grant covering 50 percent of total expenses including the establishment of a technological infrastructure and operation of the lab.
Startups that join the lab will receive 85 percent of funding at up to half a million shekels ($140,000) from the authority to fund their proof of concept.
The lab will promote companies and entrepreneurs by providing them with access to experts in the financial and cyber sectors. The lab aims to help companies turn a technological idea into a product with financial value and global impact, the IIA says. The startups and entrepreneurs will also have access to financial data, regulations, products, and processes in the field.
The lab joins six additional Innovation Labs selected to operate under the Innovation Lab Program of the Startup Division at the Innovation Authority, as well as two additional national cybersecurity labs that are in the final stages of being established in Beersheba in the areas of smart transportation and energy.
“The lab will assist in strengthening and establishing Israel and Beersheba as a national and international leader in cyber,” said IIA chairman Ami Applebaum. “The lab will provide startups with know-how and expertise by collaborating with a leading global player in the financial sector, MasterCard, which will operate for the first time in Israel in this field, and Enel X, owned by Enel, a multinational energy group, for which this activity expands on its involvement in Israel. I have no doubt that this collaboration will strengthen Israel’s position in this field and Beersheba position as a key cyber hub.”
Yigal Unna, director-general of the National Cyber Directorate at the Prime Minister’s Office, added that the newly established field matches the expertise and unique cyber solutions Israel possesses with financial challenges faced by global companies.
“This collaboration will make information and hacking scenarios available for the purpose of developing defenses for evolving threats that stem from the accelerated digitization of financial systems. For the first time, a financial company of this magnitude is coming to the Beersheba high-tech park and we hope that this will bring additional international financial companies and startups in the fields of cyber and fintech,’ he said.