Around the world, cyber crime poses a growing challenge. Yet some 3 million cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled, because too few people have the skills needed.
Enter ThriveDX, an Israeli company offering cybersecurity training for entry-level positions and beyond. In Israel, theirs is the nation’s largest cybersecurity training program. Now, it’s going global, partly from its U.S. hub in South Florida, with a new global talent match-making program recently unveiled at a White House summit.
ThriveDX works on three fronts, says co-founder Dan Vigdor: partnering with schools, including University of Miami and NYU; training staff at major companies, including Microsoft and Toyota; and running its new Cyber Talent Hub that links graduates with jobs, often adding “last-mile” training needed for specific positions.
The company trains thousands of people each year in Israel, the U.S., Europe, and Asia, including mid-career professionals and students from under-resourced communities. Graduates new to the field are vital to fill entry-level posts and develop a talent pipeline at a time when 600,000 cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled in the U.S. alone, says Vigdor. “Today, there’s a crazy competition in cybersecurity, where companies are poaching staff from one another and Chief Information Security Officers are earning $5 million or $6 million a year at large companies,” he says. “We want to build a sustainable cybersecurity talent pipeline.”
A serial entrepreneur raised in South Florida, Vigdor launched his venture in 2006 with a friend, Gil Adani. The two met while serving in a tech unit of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). “We took the learnings we had from the IDF to formulate our business,” says Vigdor. “There, you have to learn comprehensively and fast, and you have to find the best people to educate and implement immediately, because it’s a matter of life and death.”
The co-founders grew their venture quickly in Israel, which produces an estimated 40 percent of the world’s cybersecurity technology. In 2016, they set up U.S. headquarters in Coral Gables – not far from Key Biscayne, where Vigdor’s dad introduced Israeli windsurfing gear in the 1980s.
Initially, the training venture was known as HackerU. But the business re-branded last year after making several acquisitions. This year, ThriveDX raised more than $100 million in new funding, co-led by investors Prytek and Night Dragon, taking total investment past $200 million.
With the extra cash, ThriveDX is scaling up, expanding beyond its current partnerships with some 50 universities. Vigdor hopes U.S. government agencies will help low-income students with scholarships or loans to complete the training, the way that Israel’s government does. The need for such training is clear; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects “information security analyst” to rank among the country’s 10 fastest-growing jobs over the next decade.
“In the U.S., over 50 percent of our students come from diverse communities, earning less than $30,000 a year. We’re transforming people’s lives, training them in cybersecurity and digital skills for a career with amazing upward mobility,” says Vigdor. ThriveDX hopes to boost global staff to 3,000-plus by year’s end, up from 2,200 earlier this year – including more employees in South Florida.