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Hook Security reels in Tampa Bay Ventures investment

Veronica Brezina

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Hook Security CEO Zachary Eikenberry (second from left) and his team. Photo provided by Omni Public.

Locally based Hook Security, a cybersecurity training platform, has received an investment from TampaBay.Ventures as part of the startup’s Series A round. 

“We at TampaBay.Ventures see the critical function of cybersecurity as an essential infrastructure for any company’s future. Hook Security’s unique approach to fighting cybercrime through their unique proprietary methods and PsySec is the future of the industry,” Andreas Calabrese, general partner at TampaBay.Ventures, said in a statement.

Hook Security, based in Lakeland’s Catapult co-working hub and with offices in Tampa and North Carolina, focuses on training non-technical employees of companies on how to detect cyber threats and scams. 

Hook Security was introduced to TampaBay.Ventures through Tampa Bay Wave’s inaugural CyberTech X Accelerator program. 

The backing from TampaBay.Ventures was undisclosed; however, co-founder Zachary Eikenberry said its investment was part of a bridge round as Hook is in the final stages of closing the Series A.

An initial round was led by Wesley Barnett, a general partner at TampaBay.Ventures, who is a grandson of Publix Super Markets founder George Jenkins, and Todd Baylis, CEO and co-founder of Qgiv, a Lakeland-based online giving platform.

In total, Hook Security will raise over $2 million.

“With the investments, we are going to continue to scale to keep up with the demand that’s driving us. Cybersecurity awareness training is the fastest growing niche in the field,” Eikenberry said. “In this space today, you are seeing one side versus another – people are either utilizing artificial intelligence to solve human errors or they are using psychological research. Our point of view is that your people are your greatest asset, and we want to empower them.”

He said Hook Security has seen an uptick in demand during the pandemic, as many employers pivoted to a fully remote workforce, and employees who work by utilizing their phones, iPads and/or personal computers were exposed to cybersecurity threats and risks.

“I’m hypothesizing that three or four companies will emerge as the top choice for training, and we hope to be one of them,” he said. 

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