Students to Show Venture Capitalists Their Best Cybersecurity Work

A fraud detection system for healthcare claims… Ways to evaluate safer passwords…. Technical fixes for truly private browsing… These are some of the ideas proposed by Georgia Tech students who will compete before a national panel of venture capitalists for cash in the inaugural “Demo Day Finale” on April 13.

The event is hosted by the Institute for Information Security & Privacy (IISP) and aims to give students an early introduction to potential investors as they continue their research.

“The hardest part of moving great ideas out to market is finding a trustworthy partner,” says Wenke Lee, co-director of the IISP and a professor in the School of Computer Science who has successfully transferred research to private corporations. “It can be awkward to turn over your hard work to someone at the end of a long project. We hope to introduce students to potential investors earlier in the process to help them consider steps to take that could make their project more appealing to consumers. This is one way we think the Institute for Information Security & Privacy can help move solutions out to individuals who need better identity, data or hardware protection.”

Five student teams representing the School of Computer Science and School of Electrical Computing and Engineering are polishing their presentations now to deliver TED-style talks before the elite panel of business leaders from Washington D.C, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. Research with the best chance of commercialization or demonstrating the most impact toward resolving an industry need receives a cash prize – up to $5,000 this year.

Initial cybersecurity research concepts were presented at the inaugural Fall Demo Day, held Oct. 28 at the Georgia Tech Cyber Security Summit, where more than 300 attendees viewed and voted on the best research work from Georgia Tech and GTRI. The top five finalists now advance to the finale. All finalists represent graduate students – some of whom have been working on their projects for many years.

“It means a great deal for me to know that my research can have a huge positive impact outside of the lab,” says Musheer Ahmed, a graduating PhD student (advised by Professor Mustaque Ahamad) whose patented, data analytics system assigns risk scores to healthcare providers and already has caught the eye of other incubator programs interested in its potential. “All students strive for this but never know if that will materialize with their work. I hope the momentum will continue and my work can be commercialized.”

Another team – “IDforWeb” -- hopes to gather validation from the Demo Day judges that they have an easy-to-use platform for secure transactions and communication authentication. IDforWeb seeks to create “killer apps” that improve public key infrastructure (PKI) with new ease of use.

“I'm glad that people believe the 10+ year-old PKI usability problem is an important problem to solve, and agree with us that new technologies like smartphones and blockchains offer some new angle,” said Pak Ho Chung, a researcher in the School of Computer Science, referring to the Fall audience that voted them through to the Spring Finale.

All projects that will be presented at Demo Day represent a broad range of solutions for healthcare, e-commerce, application development and more, says Bo Rotoloni, co-director of the IISP who also leads the information and cyber sciences directorate for the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).

“The investors coming to judge our first Demo Day are going to see unique ideas by Georgia Tech and clever solutions to existing and emerging challenges. We believe one of academia’s roles is to explore big ideas, prove the potential, and create new market spaces. Several of these finalists do that well.”

Due to limited space, registration is encouraged for the event.


The IISP Demo Day Spring ’16 Finalists are

"Cybersecurity Inspired Health Insurance Fraud Detector"
Musheer Ahmed
Advisor: Mustaque Ahamad

"PARS: A Uniform and Open-source Password Analysis and Research System"
Shukun Yang
Advisor: Raheem Beyah

"Preventing Use-after-free with Dangling Pointers Nullification"
Byoungyoung Lee and Chengyu Song
Advisor: Taesoo Kim


"Tying Public Key to Person with ‘idforweb’ "
Pak Ho Chung, Yeongjin Jang and Mark Wisneski
Advisor: Wenke Lee

"UCognito: Private Browsing without Tears"
Meng Xu and Yeongjin Jang
Advisor:  Taesoo Kim and Wenke Lee



Judges are

Robin Bienfait, chief enterprise innovation officer, Samsung

Paul Conley, managing director, Paladin Capital Group

John Lee, senior associate, Osage Partners

Glenn McGonnigle, general partner, TechOperators

Sig Mosley, managing partner, Mosley Ventures

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For More Information Contact

Tara La Bouff, 404.769.5408