HacWare Gets Google For Startups Founders Fund Cash, Support

‘This funding is going to help us with our globalization strategy,’ says Tiffany Ricks, founder and CEO of HacWare. ‘Our goal is to leverage AI to make sure we take the guesswork out of training your employees on the evolving threats.’

Cybersecurity education firm HacWare Inc. is one of 20 Black- and Latino-led companies that recently secured funding from Google for Startups Founders Fund.

“This funding is going to help us with our globalization strategy,” Tiffany Ricks, HacWare’s founder and CEO, said on a livestream. “Our goal is to leverage AI to make sure we take the guesswork out of training your employees on the evolving threats.”

She said the key is to educate in all areas of cybersecurity and empower businesses with the knowledge to spot phishing attacks and other attack vectors that may come their way.

According to Google, each startup, including HacWare, will receive $150,000 in non-dilutive cash awards, $100,000 in Google Cloud credits, and hands-on mentorship from Google experts across AI, sales and more to help build and scale their companies and innovate responsibly with AI.

The funding from Google will allow HacWare to expand its team and strengthen channel partnerships with more than 3,000 IT solution providers in the North America, EMEA and APAC regions.

Google said that to date, it has given more than $50 million dollars to more than 570 Black and Latino founders around the world. Those founders have gone on to raise more than $590 million in follow-on funding to continue scaling their businesses and AI solutions.

[Related: CRN Asks A CEO: Tiffany Ricks, HacWare]

In addition to the funding, HacWare will work with the Google team to further the cybersecurity’s company go-to-market strategy and AI product roadmap to position itself as a market leader in AI-driven human risk management solutions.

"This year’s Google for Startups Founders Fund centers around supporting inspiring founders who are using AI to help tackle some of today’s most pressing issues,” Danny Navarro, Google for Startups, said in a statement. “We are inspired by HacWare’s work in the cybersecurity space, and are excited to welcome its team into our flourishing community of startups."

Last week, Ricks (pictured) held a livestream with MK Palmore, director of the office of the CISO at Google Cloud, to discuss the funding as well as AI memorandum put forth by the U.S. government earlier this year.

“When we launched AI in our platform, many companies were a little bit scared but I’m on the positive side,” Ricks said. “But we really need to look at how we can manage the risks but also find great use cases for it.”

One positive area of the memorandum Ricks highlighted is strengthening AI governance. She said having governance in place could improve innovation or the services IT companies provide.

This then leads to companies having a chief AI officer, she said.

With the government taking a stand on this, Palmore believes this is a “transformational period.” Before the memorandum, he believed companies had been hesitant to adopt AI due to a lack of governance and policies.

“This is overall a good thing,” he said. “I think the establishment of a chief AI officer is a good recommendation but I think what you will find in many organizations is the reliance already on the chief risk officer in large scale enterprises. The responsibilities of a chief AI officer might be a subset and/or included with the responsibilities of a chief risk officer. This is good but I think we’ll see some tweaking from one organization to the next.”