A school for aspiring cybersecurity professionals in RiNo has locked in $560,000 to open a second location in Colorado Springs this October.
SecureSet Academy, which will graduate a dozen students from its Denver program in June, seeks a total of $950,000, according to a SEC filing on May 20.
“The Denver-Boulder area has a lot of software developers and network people; Colorado Springs has a large military presence,” said Bret Fund, SecureSet founder. “So our Colorado Springs location will really serve that market more specifically.”
Fund said Colorado Springs also is an attractive market since funding cleared for a cybersecurity center in a former manufacturing plant, which Gov. John Hickenlooper first floated in January.
He said SecureSet is gearing up to hire instructors and recruit students, but has not decided where to set up shop in the Springs. He expects to start evening classes in the fall and full-time classes in January.
In Denver, SecureSet plans to admit 25 full-time students in July and its first 15 night students in August.
It is also readying a four-month accelerator program for cybersecurity startups for a late-August or September launch date. Fund said the company soon will kick off a separate raise to fund the accelerator.
This is SecureSet’s second funding round since raising $1 million from investors in August, according to the SEC filing.
SecureSet is housed in 3801 Franklin St., a few blocks from the light-rail station at 38th & Blake streets. For now, it’s the only tenant in the building, a 19th-century bakery that property owner Leger Property Group finished renovating in December. (Leger is also an investor in SecureSet.)
Fund said the location makes it easy for working students to commute from Boulder or Fort Collins. Another plus is being near companies such as Optiv and DaVita, which have cybersecurity personnel in Denver.
“There’s actually a number of large corporations that have either their cybersecurity operations or their training team out here,” said Fund. “We wanted to be close to them.”
Fund started planning the for-profit school in September 2014 in the hopes of combining cybersecurity certification exams with theory-centric courses offered at universities and consulting projects for local businesses.
Universities tend to emphasize management skills or the math behind things such as encryption, Fund said. SecureSet touches on those topics, but its main thrust is technical courses where students learn to spot and stop attacks. Students also use software from companies such as LogRhythm and Webroot, rather than just the open-source software that most universities favor.
Companies that sponsor SecureSet fund student scholarships and get perks such as access to grads at closed-door networking events and free courses for their own employees. The hope is that students will graduate not just with certificates and training, but also with a job offer or two.
The 36-week night program and the 20-week full-time program cost $25,000 each. That includes two cybersecurity certificates, about $6,000 combined. By comparison, the University of Denver’s one-year MS in cybersecurity charges $30,000 in tuition.
SecureSet will enter the Colorado Springs area as soon as this summer, when it uses a $100,000 grant from the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation to run cybersecurity summer camps for high school students and teachers.