First Watch, jointly owned by WaikatoLink and Combined Technology Ltd (CTEK), was launched late last year to protect industrial control networks from cyber attacks. Because these networks were not originally intended to be connected to the Internet, they have multiple entry points for hackers and, therefore, are susceptible to security breaches. Because some of these systems control critical infrastructure, like water systems and manufacturing plants, the effects of security breaches have the potential to be very serious. Researchers from the University of Waikato working with WaikatoLink built a cybersecurity software suite to address this problem.
The project received PreSeed funding from KiwiNet and investment from WaikatoLink and CTEK. Relationships built in Asia-Pacific helped First Watch secure seed round funding from among others SingTel Innov8 and NUS Singapore.
The Hamilton-based company has a team of 10, which is developing the product and securing pilots in dairy and critical infrastructure plants locally and in Asia-Pacific. The first commercial product is due to be launched in April 2021. The University of Waikato continues to provide R&D for First Watch, researching the next generation of the product.