The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and innovation hub Plexal have selected four startups to join their NCSC for Startups accelerator.
Operating from East London’s Olympic Park, Plexal provides a physical working space for startups, and uses its relationships with industry, academia, investors and government to help them develop and ultimately deploy their technologies throughout the public sector.
Designed as a collaborative accelerator programme to help startups develop, adapt or pilot solutions to mission-critical cyber security challenges facing the UK, the NCSC for Startups initiative’s latest cohort are focused on a range of different technologies and areas.
LexVerify, for example, uses artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce legal and compliance risks on electronic communications by flagging potential issues in real time, while Rowden Technologies is using digital fingerprinting to secure devices and help government customers integrate, customise and operationalise new tech.
Another startup, penetration testing firm RoboShadow, uses network scanning technology to help enterprises identify potential exploits, and aims to make effective cyber security more accessible through free or ultra-low-cost software.
The final startup joining the programme, ZORB Security, helps employees access confidential data from outside their corporate networks when, for example, working from home or travelling.
“As threats evolve and our critical national infrastructure faces new challenges, it is important that we look for new opportunities to harness emerging technologies to strengthen the UK’s digital economy and drive greater cyber resilience,” said Saj Huq, chief commercial officer and head of innovation at Plexal.
“This requires cross-sector innovation and collaboration between government, startups and industry, and we’re delighted to welcome our latest intake of talented leaders to our first NCSC for Startups programme of 2023.
“This latest intake of innovators joins an expanding ecosystem of collaborators all working to make the UK the safest place to live and work online. This includes the NCSC for Startups alumni of over 60 companies who have collectively raised over £430m and created over 700 jobs nationwide to date.”
Startups involved in the programme will be given access to technical experts and incident response teams from the NCSC, which is part of British signal intelligence agency GCHQ, and benefit further from workshops on marketing, funding and business development designed to help them break into the UK’s cyber security market.
Launched in 2017 as the NCSC Cyber Accelerator, the initiative was rebranded to NCSC for Startups in August 2021. While the previous iteration was specifically geared around helping startups to scale, NCSC for Startups is open to startups at all stages of maturity.
The last cohort of startups to join the programme did so in September 2022, and had a particular focus on education and building digital skills in the cyber security space.
That same month, Plexal separately selected 35 startups to join the second cohort of its Cyber Runway accelerator, which are working to solve a range of pressing challenges for the cyber security sector, ransomware, zero-day attacks, secure authentication, incident response and generally improving cyber awareness.
In November 2022, Plexal expanded this programme with Cyber Runway Ignite, which specifically focuses on developing startup leadership skills, rather than business enhancement.
Plexal is also involved in running Greater Manchester’s Digital Security Hub, which opened applications in August 2022 and is designed to support the growth of early stage startups throughout the North West of England.