Herndon, VA, Sept. 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced that CIT GAP Funds has invested in Arlington, Va.-based Fend, a cybersecurity company focused on developing solutions for critical infrastructure. Fend’s combination of a hardware and cloud-based equipment monitoring and analytics solution provides security for industrial application and embedded systems, including utilities, governments and real estate. Fend will use the investment from GAP Funds to scale its sales and delivery teams.

Operations teams in utilities and industrial systems traditionally lack access to real-time data due to the security concerns associated with connecting embedded systems and industrial controls to an outside network. Such a gap makes it difficult to monitor and maintain these systems, and adds significant expense to extracting data from them. Fend’s platform, a fully integrated hardware-software solution designed to secure critical infrastructure and industrial systems through one-way data transfer, solves this problem by providing critical infrastructure operations teams with real-time equipment performance data while significantly reducing the potential for hackers to breach the network connection.

“Our number one goal is to protect critical infrastructure from cyber-attacks. That’s a big task, considering all the segments that comprise the category such as water systems, information technology, transportation systems, government facilities and more. Our unique ability to securely monitor IoT-enabled edge devices sets us apart,” said Colin Dunn, CEO of Fend. The Department of Energy awarded Fend $1.2 million across a two-phase Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award in 2018 and 2019 to protect solar energy installations from cyberattack.  “Thanks to the early support of CIT’s SBIR proposal assistance program and now the GAP Funds team, we have created five full time jobs at Fend and plan to hire three more by year’s end that will allow us to scale and help extend our customer reach.”

Leveraging patented data diode technology, which secures all of a network’s data outflow and makes it impossible for an insecure network to pass along malware, access a system, or accidently make harmful changes, Fend’s platform enables customers to improve operational efficiency and bring legacy equipment into the industrial internet of things (IIoT) without having to maintain traditional, permeable defenses such as firewalls or cybersecurity software. The hardware is designed to enable low-cost, high security data extraction from sensitive systems while providing a high level of security for critical assets. Fend’s cloud-based analytics platform, which is available as a monthly subscription, helps teams securely turn information into actionable intelligence for industrial customers.

“In a time where criminals have access to rentable botnets, unlimited cloud computing and artificial intelligence, it’s risky for an organization to only rely on firewalls and software-based security for protection. A hack against electric infrastructure, moving vehicles, or customers of heating and cooling equipment is a huge risk,” said Thomas Weithman, Managing Director of CIT GAP Funds, and President and Chief Investment Officer of MACH37. “Fend’s straightforward solution built around  their one-way security hardware-software approach keeps attackers out while providing the intelligence organizations need to optimize their business. Fend is off to a very strong start. Just this year, they were awarded a contract to evaluate hardware performance at the Army Corps of Engineers facility. We are excited to see Fend continue to grow and are confident the company will be successful.”

CIT's Federal Funding Assistance Program identifies and accelerates opportunities for Virginia's small technology businesses to obtain SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research), STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) and other government contracts. As the leader of SBIR initiatives in Virginia, CIT provides guidance, direction, training and valuable resources to enhance the competitiveness of your SBIR/STTR proposal strategy. Fend was able to take advantage of these programs back in 2018, ultimately winning a FY2019 SBIR Matching Funds Program grant that allowed the company to better position themselves for GAP funding.

For more information about CIT, please visit https://www.cit.org/.

About Fend

Hackers have taken down electric infrastructure, seized control of moving vehicles, and stolen customer information from heating and cooling equipment. Fend brings a straightforward solution to keep attackers out while providing you the intelligence you need to optimize your business. Fend physically protects your connected equipment from cyberattack. You need the real-time information that remote equipment monitoring provides so you can improve efficiency and reduce unexpected downtime. With the power of alerts and predictive analytics, you can stay on top of maintenance needs, reduce energy costs, and get the most out of your workforce. For more information, please visit: https://www.fend.tech/.

About CIT GAP Funds

CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean tech and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors and the Commonwealth of Virginia. CIT GAP Funds’ investments are overseen by the CIT GAP Funds Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel consists of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Valhalla Partners, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources. For more information, please visit www.citgapfunds.org.

About the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
Investing for Commonwealth Growth | CIT concentrates on the early commercialization and seed funding stages of innovation, helping innovators and tech entrepreneurs launch and grow new companies, create high paying jobs and accelerate economic growth throughout the entire state of Virginia. Founded in 1985, CIT accelerates next generation technologies and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, market development initiatives, and expansion of broadband throughout Virginia. Our programs include | CIT GAP Funds | Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) | Virginia Founders Fund | Broadband/Rural Broadband | Smart Communities | Cybersecurity | Unmanned Systems | SBIR/STTR Support (Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs) | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement. CIT’s CAGE Code is 1UP71. Contact: 2214 Rock Hill Road #600, Herndon, VA 20170 | 703.689.3000 | www.cit.org

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Taylor Hadley
LaunchTech Communications
978-877-2113
Taylor@goLaunchTech.com

Sara Poole
Center for Innovative Technologies
sara.poole@cit.org