• Joining Michael Hodge, vice president, Federal, Avocado Systems (2nd from r) are the three July 11 Shark Tank judges (l-r) Dan Wolley, founder and managing partner, Ponderosa Management Group; Maria Horton, CEO, EmeSec; and Christina Monaco, chief ventures officer, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Photo by Elizabeth Moon
     Joining Michael Hodge, vice president, Federal, Avocado Systems (2nd from r) are the three July 11 Shark Tank judges (l-r) Dan Wolley, founder and managing partner, Ponderosa Management Group; Maria Horton, CEO, EmeSec; and Christina Monaco, chief ventures officer, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Photo by Elizabeth Moon
  • Michael Hodge, vice president, Federal, Avocado Systems, describes how the company’s product protects applications in his winning presentation in the third and final qualifying round for AFCEA’s upcoming Small Business Innovation Summit Shark Tank. Photo by Elizabeth Moon
     Michael Hodge, vice president, Federal, Avocado Systems, describes how the company’s product protects applications in his winning presentation in the third and final qualifying round for AFCEA’s upcoming Small Business Innovation Summit Shark Tank. Photo by Elizabeth Moon

Picosegmentation Prevails in Shark Tank

July 16, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
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The third of three AFCEA finalists provides cybersecurity at the smallest level.


A small business providing advanced data security is the third and final firm selected in an AFCEA Small Business Innovation Shark Tank competition to uncover innovative emerging technologies. The company, Avocado of San Jose, California, won against six other firms with its distributed and deterministic layer-7 application security platform.

Michael Hodge, vice president, Federal, Avocado Systems, described how the company’s product protects applications and data inside of data centers. Picosegmentation provides security at the sub process level, he related, adding that the system simplifies the architecture within the data center. It is employable in all architectures, and it generates “zero false positives.” Data center tenants purchase the subscription-based software, and Hodge claimed that renewers expand their renewal by an average of 30 percent.

In awarding the top finish to Avocado, the competition’s judges cited the technology’s ability to grow. It provides a strong foundation for a leading growth segment, they declared.

Avocado nosed out six other firms, including one in the United Kingdom that competed via Skype. The other firms were Nominet, Cloud7works, NNData, Modus Operandi, Eagle Eye Labs and thycotic.

Three judges—one from government, one former government official and one venture capitalist—heard five-minute presentations from officials of all seven firms, followed by a five-minute question-and-answer exchange with each representative. This shark tank was the last of three semifinal competitions building up to a championship final in late July.

The shark tank is open to firms specializing in a range of innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, digital transformation or cybersecurity. The final competition among the three chosen firms will take place at the AFCEA Small Business Innovation Summit in the Sheraton Premier in Vienna, Virginia, on July 26.

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