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More Top Cybersecurity Investors: Old and New

When it comes to building cyber defenses, the government and entrepreneurs are fast becoming bedfellows. A decade ago, the two camps barely interacted. Today, they are working together closely. As attackers get more sophisticated, the public and private sectors need intelligence from each other. They also need similar tools, such as mobile security software and high-tech maps.

Veteran investors with deep ties to Washington officials sometimes have an edge in getting in on hot technology investment deals. But the convergence between the public and private sectors is also creating openings for cybersecurity non-traditionalists like Peter Thiel. A PayPal co-founder known for his early investment in Facebook, he helped build Palantir Technologies, a high-profile data analytics software company recently valued by investors at around $9 billion.

In part two of our look into cybersecurity investing, The Information examined investors with Beltway bona fides, the folks government officials seeking new technologies call first. We also identified individuals with long track records but who aren’t part of big firms. Lastly, we picked a trio of up-and-comers who are making big investments and generating a lot of buzz. (See part one here.)

In interviews, the investors aired their concerns about new cybersecurity vulnerabilities, such as networked infrastructure and vehicles that could be attacked remotely. Some wondered whether the government will face pressure to curb defense budgets just as the threats mount.

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Looking ahead: Between recent revelations about NSA surveillance programs and calls for fiscal austerity, Mr. Talbott has concerns that the government will pull back on investing in cybersecurity as the threats are growing and changing.

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