GCHQ fledges cyber start-ups and asks for more

The first GCHQ-backed accelerator programme for cyber security start-ups has concluded.

aerial photograph of GCHQ main building

aerial photograph of GCHQ main building

Seven start-ups joined the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator – a partnership between GCHQ, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and corporate accelerator Wayra UK (part Telefónica Open Future).

The companies received support to scale their businesses, including mentoring, business services, office space, and access to GCHQ and Telefónica’s personnel and technical expertise.

“That support has helped the companies develop substantially, with successes including the securing of contracts with government agencies and projects with major corporations, as well as developing their products and embarking on funding rounds,” said Watra.

At a programme end event, the start-ups pitched to an audience of stakeholders and potential investors.

Also at the event, GCHQ, DCMS and Wayra announced a new call for cyber start-ups to join the Accelerator in an extended programme.

“This has been a textbook exercise in how to accelerate companies extremely quickly,” claimed Wayra director Gary Stewart. “We’ve been able to take our strengths and marry them to GCHQ’s cyber expertise, creating a petri dish for these start-ups to scale. I’m immensely proud that we’ve been able to realise the promise of this collaboration, and enthused about moving the partnership forward in an even bigger and better way through a new call for cyber start-ups to join the programme.”

During the accelerator programme:

  • CyberOwl secured a proof of concept project with Cisco to provide early warning on data theft attacks. The company was also awarded Innovate UK funding of £75,000, and will collaborate with Qinetiq to ease the detection of data breaches in complex environments such as the IoT.
  • Status Today progressed commercial deals with defence and security companies. It is working with Cisco on a proof of concept project investigating behavioural analytics. It is also working with Microsoft on platform support and pre-release access, and exploring opportunities with Microsoft’s National Safety Team for sales collaboration within the Public Sector. Founder Ankur Modi was also featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30.
  • Elemendar secured a contract that enables them to continue to develop its machine intelligence platform, which reads cyber threat reports produced by humans and turns them into industry-standard structured information.
  • Spherical Defence beginning a pilot programme with a payment provider in India. It is also in its first seed funding round seeking $600,000, led by a  Silicon Valley investor.
  • CyberSmart went from a ‘minimum viable product’ to launching its security compliance platform into beta. It also got its first customers and is preparing for public roll-out.
  • Verimuchme completed its minimum viable product and is reaching out to enterprise clients to better-meet their requirements.
  • CounterCraft received technical mentoring and has position its product strategically in the UK market.

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