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The Santander X Global Challenge: Meeting the Innovators

Casilda Angulo

November 15, 2023

  • Blog Post

Forgepoint Capital is proud to participate in the Santander X Global Challenge: Cyberprotect the Future alongside Banco Santander to advance cybersecurity innovation and investment globally.  

We would like to congratulate the 6 winning companies from this year’s diverse competition: Pixee, Quantum Dice, Nokod Security, CalypsoAI, Azion, and SURF SECURITY. Winners will receive a cash prize, access to the Santander X entrepreneur community, and the opportunity to pitch their companies to Forgepoint Capital and Banco Santander.  


Building a Global Cybersecurity Ecosystem 

The need for innovative cybersecurity solutions has never been greater as companies undergo digital transformations, economies become more interconnected, and emerging markets adopt technologies. These advances introduce new and pervasive cyber risks (including AI-powered threats) that cause growing impacts to businesses across the world.  

Global solutions benefit from diverse global perspectives, especially those outside of traditional cybersecurity and tech hotbeds like Silicon Valley. The Santander X Global Challenge is designed to give innovative startups and scaleups from around the world a chance to showcase their unique ideas, platforms, products, and services.  


Meeting the Finalists: A Perspective from the Evaluation Committee 

As a collaborator in the evaluation process, I had the opportunity to review the finalists’ applications in this year’s challenge to learn how they are solving critical business problems that transcend borders. I found their innovation and creativity fascinating and inspiring.  

The evaluation committee focused on a few criteria in determining the finalists and winners, including: the potential for impact in the cybersecurity sector; the quality of innovation (e.g. new technologies, business models, or applications); business viability and scalability; and team experience and quality.  

Here are my key takeaways after meeting the finalists in this year’s competition:  

  • The most popular topics included AI (with a special focus on prompt analysis and security awareness), Cloud Security, Behavioral Authentication, SSPM (SaaS Security Posture Management), and ASPM (Application Security Posture Management).  
  • Companies represented more than 10 countries including Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  
  • Finalists were startups and scaleups with different levels of funding, each building highly relevant and unique solutions. 50% of the finalists were scaleups- companies that had grown past startup size, with significant traction and annual recurring revenue.  
  • In addition to the impressive and diverse backgrounds and skillsets of the entrepreneurs, it was also interesting to learn how founders built their teams and met their co-founders. Their team “origin stories” ranged from having been co-workers in private industry, met through military service, born of university friendships, to close family connections. I was especially impressed by a mother-daughter founding team that had previously worked together for 7 years. 
  • Many of these entrepreneurs were interested in the chance to present to the Santander team and Forgepoint investors as much as in the cash prizes, if not more.  


Cybersecurity and Innovation Have No Borders 

Participating in the Santander X Global Challenge served as a reminder that innovation comes from every corner of the globe, just like cybersecurity threats. There are many dedicated entrepreneurs based in underserved markets with unique backgrounds and skillsets and unquestionable talent building differentiated solutions. Cybersecurity is critical to business resilience, innovation and growth across industries. I admire that these founders are working hard to address major problems and help their customers and end users succeed. 

Forgepoint Capital benefited from hearing finalists’ perspectives and ideas, gaining a broader view of emerging solutions and new companies to add to our international investment pipeline. We are proud to have offered our feedback to these ambitious companies and wish them success in the future. We look forward to learning more from the winners and to meeting more exceptional entrepreneurs building impactful technology across the global ecosystem.