April 30, 2024

Ballistic Ventures and Pursuit launch program to address the cyber skills gap with diverse talent

Blackstone and other corporate partners join the Ballistic X Pursuit Cyber Fellows program, charting a path to narrow the industry’s talent gap and economic divides

SAN FRANCISCO, CA & NEW YORK, NY April 30, 2024Ballistic Ventures, the venture capital firm dedicated exclusively to funding and incubating entrepreneurs and innovations in cybersecurity, and Pursuit, a workforce development social impact organization that trains low-income individuals so they can build careers in tech, today announced the Ballistic X Pursuit Cyber Fellows program, a groundbreaking initiative to tackle the cybersecurity skills gap by providing adults from non-traditional backgrounds with the training and support necessary to excel in these careers.

The cyber skills gap is one of the most pressing challenges facing the cybersecurity industry today. Despite the industry’s rapid growth, there is a significant shortage of qualified professionals – particularly from non-traditional backgrounds, as open opportunities aren’t accessible to everyone. The Ballistic X Pursuit Cyber Fellows program aims to tackle this challenge head-on. Tapping into Pursuit’s proven software development training program, the Ballistic X Pursuit Cyber Fellows program empowers talented adults from non-traditional backgrounds to get the training and support needed to be hired, retained and succeed in the cybersecurity industry.

“The Ballistic X Pursuit Cyber Fellows program represents more than just a commitment to diversity in cybersecurity; it’s a catalyst for innovation, fostering a convergence of unique backgrounds that will undoubtedly spawn new ideas, technologies, and approaches to secure our rapidly evolving world,” said Jake Seid, Co-founder and General Partner of Ballistic Ventures. “At Ballistic, we believe in the power of diverse perspectives not only to address the industry’s skills gap but to shape the future of cybersecurity.”

In existing Pursuit programs, which have focused on employing talent to software development and engineering teams, fellows have gone from earning an average of $18K to over $90K working at some of the best companies in the world. The Ballistic X Pursuit Cyber Fellows program intends to support these efforts for fellows within the cybersecurity community. 

“At Pursuit, our mission has always been focused on reshaping the narrative for individuals from underserved backgrounds. The Ballistic X Pursuit Cyber Fellows program is a testament to the impact we can make when we empower talented individuals with the right skills and connect them with industry leaders,” said Jukay Hsu, Co-founder and CEO of Pursuit. “Together with Ballistic, we are forging a more inclusive pathway to success for aspiring cybersecurity professionals, bridging the cyber skills gap, and providing employers with trained non-traditional talent to help their businesses thrive.”

Founding members of this transformative program include Blackstone and other corporate partners, which have committed to employing fellows on their cybersecurity teams. For founding members and employers who sign on, the Ballistic X Pursuit Cyber Fellows program helps nurture long-term talent through three-years of on-the-job support and training.

“Becoming a founding member of the Ballistic X Pursuit Cyber Fellows program was an easy choice for us. Our engineering team has worked with Pursuit for years, and from a cybersecurity perspective, this just makes sense,” said Adam Fletcher, Chief Security Officer of Blackstone. “Not only does this new initiative contribute to closing the industry’s talent gap, but it also provides access to a broader pool of individuals who are well-versed in a modern tech stack with targeted cyber training. We are proud to be a part of this initiative.”

Blackstone has partnered with Pursuit since 2015. After many years of success hiring engineering talent, adding cybersecurity trained fellows was a natural extension of the partnership. A select number of trial fellows completed their Pursuit cybersecurity training and are successfully in-role at Blackstone. 

“I feel confident in achieving success with the support, encouragement, and continuous behavioral and technical assistance from Pursuit,” said Lili Huang, Cloud Security, Blackstone Cybersecurity and Pursuit Fellow. “With Pursuit’s guidance, I am equipped to overcome any challenge on my path to success.”

By creating pathways to cybersecurity careers, the Ballistic X Pursuit Cyber Fellows program will transform people, families and industries. However, this transformation requires the community’s support. The collective is calling on all corporations with cybersecurity hiring initiatives in 2024 to explore the program and consider partnering. Learn more at pursuit.org/cyber.  

# # #

About Ballistic Ventures

Ballistic Ventures is a venture capital firm solely dedicated to early-stage cybersecurity and cyber-related companies. The partners have spent their entire careers defending against every cyber threat conceivable. Members of the firm have founded, operated, and funded over 100 successful cybersecurity firms – including Abnormal Security, AlienVault, ArcSight, Fortify, Mandiant, and Shape Security – led over 10,000 security professionals globally, and have 40+ years of experience in venture capital. The Ballistic portfolio includes Aembit, Alethea, ArmorCode, AuthMind, Codezero, Concentric AI, Nudge Security, Oligo Security, Pangea, Perygee, Reach Security, SpecterOps, Talon (PANW) and Veza. Our experience provides entrepreneurs impactful support from people focused on the same mission. Our networks and relationships open doors for our founders. Learn more at ballisticventures.com.

About Pursuit

Pursuit is an innovative social impact organization whose mission is to close the opportunity gap in America. Founded in 2011 and based in New York City, Pursuit trains adults with the most need and potential to get their first tech jobs, advance in their careers and become the next generation of leaders in tech. On average, Pursuit Fellows increase their annual income from $18,000 to nearly $90,000, and work at leading companies, including Citi, Uber, Peloton, and Blackstone. Pursuit Fellows begin their journey with a year of high-quality, intensive, and supportive training, followed by three years of career development once they’ve been hired. Pursuit also works directly with companies to secure hiring commitments, which results in long-term growth and retention. To ensure the Pursuit Fellowship is sustainable and scalable, Pursuit uses a blended finance model that enables it to tap into philanthropic capital as well as impact investor funding. By breaking down barriers and connecting talent with opportunity, Pursuit empowers their Fellows to bring change to their families, tech companies, and communities across the nation. To learn more, visit pursuit.org