CybersecurityGCHQ Cyber Accelerator selects first cyber security start-ups

Published 17 January 2017

Seven start-ups, focusing on online security issues and threats, will join the new GCHQ Cyber Accelerator, powered by Wayra UK. The accelerator will be part of a government-funded cyber innovation center aiming to help keep the United Kingdom secure online. Each start-up will receive benefits including access to technological and security expertise, networks, office space, and mentoring. The accelerator aims to help the United Kingdom take the lead in producing the next generation of cybersecurity systems, boosting the country’s tech sector.

Seven cyber security start-ups have been selected to join the new GCHQ Cyber Accelerator, powered by Wayra UK.

Wyara UK, an accelerator which is part of the U.K. government’s new Cheltenham Cyber Innovation Center, says it aims to keep the United Kingdom secure online, enable companies to produce the next generation of cybersecurity systems, and boost the country’s £22 billion cybersecurity sector, which currently contributes around £2 billion a year in exports to the U.K. economy.

The accelerator is a partnership between GCHQ, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and Wayra UK, the leading U.K. corporate accelerator whuch is part of the global Telefónica Open Future_ network.

Companies joining the accelerator will now begin a three-month development program, during which they will receive benefits to help them scale all aspects of their businesses, including mentoring, contact with an extensive investor network, office space within the new GCHQ Cyber Accelerator, and access to GCHQ’s world-class personnel and technical expertise.

Gary Stewart, Director at Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ (UK), said: “The opening of the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator is a significant step forward for the UK’s ambitions to be a global hub for cyber talent. By bringing together GCHQ’s world-class security expertise and pairing it with Wayra’s track record in accelerating businesses, we will give entrepreneurs with exceptional cyber security ideas the opportunity to develop them in the best possible environment. This accelerator could have a huge impact on the global cyber security sector, generating the next generation of systems that will make everyone’s online experience safer and more secure.”

The new accelerator forms part of the Cheltenham Innovation Centre, the first of two innovation centers to be created as part of the government’s National Cyber Security Program. A second innovation center will open in London later this year. DCMS is contributing up to £50 million over the next five years to deliver the two innovation centers.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is the U.K.’s authority on cybersecurity.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Security Skills and Growth said: “The accelerator will combine GCHQ’s understanding of the challenges and deep expertise in cyber security with innovative and cutting edge companies. It will help to develop the next generation of security technologies needed to keep us all safe in cyber space.”

The companies selected to join the program include:

  • CounterCraft, a counterintelligence company, protects large organizations with a cybersecurity deception platform, fooling their adversaries with decoy computers, false data and fake identities
  • Cyberowl, a breakthrough early-warning system for cyberattacks, incorporating advanced security analytics and heuristic methods
  • Cybersmart, a platform that automates implementation, certification, and compliance with cyber security standards
  • FutureScaper, a collective intelligence platform that provides data visualizations in order to make sense of complex, uncertain, or volatile issues
  • Spherical Defence, a Banking API intrusion detection system that uses deep learning to detect hacking attempts by establishing a baseline of normal communication
  • StatusTodayprovides an AI-powered intelligence platform to understand human behavior in the workplace, boosting security against insider attacks and detecting inadvertent mistakes
  • Verimuchme, a digital wallet and exchange platform to secure, verify and re-use personal information. Through ID-based crypto-technology, individuals and enterprises are linked to personal information that can be shared digitally over and over again

Government Communications Headquarters is one of the three U.K. Intelligence and Security Agencies, along with MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). GCHQ works to protect the UK and its citizens from a range of threats to national security, including terrorism, serious and organized crime, and cyberattack.