Thinking of applying? Read our top 5 FAQs first.

Whether we’re meeting people face-to-face at roadshow events or chatting with potential founders 1 on 1, there are some questions that surface often. If they’re the concerns of some, then they might also be the concerns of yours. Scott Handsaker, CyRise CEO, fields the bulk of them. Here are his answers for the top five questions we get from aspiring founders.

Scott Handsaker, CyRise CEO, with the founders from the 1st cohort of the accelerator program.

1. Do I really have to move to Melbourne?

If you don’t currently live in Melbourne we still really want you to get into the CyRise program! You don’t have to move here, but you will need to spend a LOT of time here.

This year we are meeting a lot of amazing teams from other cities, including Sydney, Canberra and the Gold Coast. We know we need to be flexible without compromising the integrity of the program, as many interstate founders have kids and partners to factor in to any decision.

In the upcoming program we are looking at how we can compress the content and face to face requirements to three days of the week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

You should still be working full time on your business, but if you are not physically in the Melbourne office on Monday and Friday that’s fine with us. We hope this makes it easier for interstate founders to participate in CyRise and extract full value from the program. Of course if you are Melbourne based, we are here for you full time as always.

2. You put $50,000 in as part of a SAFE note. What does that even mean?

If you get into CyRise, we invest $50,000 into your company. The legal instrument we use to make the agreement with you is called a SAFE note, which stands for Simple Agreement for Future Equity.

It’s our way of investing money into your company in a lightweight and founder-friendly way, while still ensuring that our interests are aligned. At the time that the money goes into your company it is not considered debt, nor is it equity. It is simply an agreement between us that it will convert into equity at some point in the future.

Broadly, there are two ways our investment in you converts into equity:

  1. You raise an external round of capital from investors at an agreed valuation
  2. You sell your business

At either of those trigger points we are granted a small piece of equity in your business. How much equity we are granted depends on the cap in the SAFE note and the discount rate that is applied. For most early stage companies that we work with, the maximum we would end up with at the point of conversion is 5%.

You can read more about SAFE notes if you are feeling especially inspired. Feel free to reach out to us at anytime to discuss your particular situation.

3. Does CyRise or the stakeholders of CyRise have any rights over my IP?


4. Am I the right person for this program?

In assessing what companies are a fit for CyRise, we focus first on the people behind them.

We do of course assess the idea, the company and the market potential. The problem needs to fit broadly into the cyber security space and it should have the potential of being a high growth business. But we care just as much about you as the founder.

While this isn’t a complete list, some of the character traits we look for include:

  • Grit
  • Determination
  • Persistence
  • High trust
  • High standards of execution
  • Tolerance for adversity
  • Life long learner
  • Open to feedback
  • Strong self belief

If that sounds like you, then you are probably someone we would love to meet.

5. What should I expect if I am selected?

If you apply for CyRise and are good enough to get in, you should expect to experience all of the following:

  • You will be surrounded by other companies and founders at the top of their game. It will be one of the few times in your life where you will be surrounded by people who are exceptional at what they do.
  • Everything will move quicker. Your customer conversations, your product development, your sales and marketing. Everything.
  • The standards of execution that you expect from yourself and that you expect from others will lift. Dramatically.
  • Some tough and confronting conversations. CyRise practices radical transparency as a cultural value and we expect you to do the same. Being honest with each other gets us to the desired outcome faster and with less risk of failure. It’s honest feedback delivered with empathy and kindness.
  • Your team size will grow on day one as we add around 50 people to it. That’s all our mentors, partners and champions who are now on your side, working with you and willing you to succeed.

Ready to apply? Applications for our 2020 accelerator program are now open. All the information you need is at



Accelerating, supporting and investing in world-class cyber security solutions.

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Accelerating, supporting and investing in world-class cyber security solutions.