Inside the Accelerator: BDATA

The Catalyst Cyber Accelerator is the first cybersecurity-focused commercial accelerator program in Canada. Headquartered at the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst at Ryerson University, the Accelerator offers technical, strategic advice, mentorship and business resources to cybersecurity businesses that are ready to become national and international competitors.

In February, the Accelerator launched its fourth cohort with seven innovative Canadian cybersecurity businesses. In this series of articles, we’ll be talking to the entrepreneurs behind each business about the Accelerator experience.

BDATA’s technology ensures that the data stream from loT products (drones, autonomous vehicles, pumping stations, etc.) to the cloud is cryptographically encrypted and secure. They allow customers to secure and manage their IoT networks with BIoT, a trustworthy technology which is secure, easy to operate and cost-effective. We spoke to cofounders Syed Bari and Owen Wang about how it works.

What is the elevator pitch for BDATA?

Syed Bari: A cyberattack costs, on average, $3.6 million to manufacturers and critical infrastructures. Over 50 per cent of the damage is due to disruptions in operation by shutting down high-value machines and equipment. Less than 10% per cent of the damage is directly related to the attack. BDATA has created digital fingerprints for IoT, Edge and Endpoint devices to increase the equipment’s transparency and keep the cyberattack from spilling over to the operation side. By using password-less, peer-endorsing and zero-trust networks, BDATA helps to reduce disruptions in operation and minimize cyberattack damage.

How does the technology work, and what is new about it?

SB: Companies are currently using PKI (public private key infrastructure) technology to protect their infrastructure. This technology was developed in the ’70s. PKI works very well for the IT infrastructure because of sharing certificates on the device which has a physical user attached to it and can be secured using two factor authentication, but what if there is no physical user attached to receive two factor authentication, in such scenario certificates are stored on the device/server and can become vulnerable because now these certificates can be easily stolen and entire system can be compromised.

BDATA is increasing IoT, edge and endpoint device transparency and security for manufacturing, infrastructures, and energy companies. By using unique digital fingerprints for devices generated by BDATA Technology, customers can minimize cyberattack damage to the IT side and keep their production, operation and infrastructures running. The device’s authentication is handled not by username and password but by a peer-endorsing, zero-trust network of devices. Such configuration allows users not to fear a stolen account and password.

What has been the evolution of BDATA?

SB: I came to Canada to do my MBA at Rotman, and Owen was doing his MBA at Schulich. We met each other at a conference. Owen’s background in computer science and my experience in start-ups; so, we gelled together and decided to work on this project. Our technology won several awards, including Rogers 5G Cyber Security Competition, Desjardin Bank Cyber Security Competition, and Singapore’s government entity secure remote operation competition to name a few. To scale up our technology deployments, we formed partnerships with industry leaders. Currently, we are partnering with many companies to offer BIoT Enabled hardware, including but not limited to Advantech, Supermicro and Intel.

What brough you to the Catalyst Cyber Accelerator?

SB: The Catalyst Cyber Accelerator is one of the top cybersecurity accelerators in North America. We were thrilled to be working at this incubator because of its focus on cybersecurity. We’ve met a lot of great mentors, including CEOs and VPs from large corporations like Microsoft and Google. These mentors have provided us with excellent advice. We’ve also been introduced to a number of potential investors in this region who are interested in early-stage companies.

Owen Wang: I’ve been very happy with the Accelerator program. The key thing I will take away is the storytelling part from Michael Ho [an Entrepreneur-in-Residence]. He’s an amazing storyteller, and I’m now studying how to tell stories because of him. The way he constructs his pitch deck and storytelling techniques got me interested in doing research and writing on the side just to practice.

What do the next five years look like for you?

OW: In the next few months, we’ll be closing our seed round and getting our revenue to $1 million. The year after that, we’re planning to go further into the international market, including Japan and other southeast Asian regions, and Europe.




Toronto Metropolitan University’s national centre for Cybersecurity training, acceleration, applied R&D, and public education

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Paula Fletcher

Paula Fletcher

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