Supporting Home Office mission-critical challenges through ACE

We’re pleased to announce a milestone moment in our company’s short history and something we’re really proud of: Plexal has reinforced our mission of closing the collaboration gap between startups and government through fresh support to the public-private partnership with the Home Office.

We’ll help deliver the Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE), which focuses on public safety and security challenges arising from data and digital technologies. Established in 2017, ACE is a Home Office unit within the Homeland Security Group. Mission challenges, threats and opportunities from across government and public sector agencies are shared through ACE to access problem-solving private sector capabilities created by SMEs.

ACE has developed novel contracting mechanisms and secure collaboration and development tools that accelerate delivery of mission impact to a tempo of weeks and months rather than the months and years typical of traditional government procurement.

We’re working with the Vivace industry and academic community – operated by defence technology company QinetiQ which we’ve partnered with – that has more than 300 member organisations. Our specific involvement in ACE will create new business growth opportunities and we’ll draw upon the Plexal network of innovators, expanding the pipeline of startup technology supporting the Home Office’s mission-critical problems to enhance national security.

The ACE partnership builds on Plexal’s existing work and delivery of innovation projects for some of the most influential government departments and global tech companies, including the National Cyber Security Centre, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, IBM and Amazon Web Services.

Examples of previous ACE innovation work include: 

  • Addressing offender risk in the justice system following terrorist attacks 
  • Helping protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse
  • Contributing to the disruption of illegal drug transportation and prosecution of criminal gangs exploiting children and vulnerable adults
  • Enhancing joint maritime situational awareness and coordination to combat border risks and respond to migrant crossings

ACE currently handles £45m of commissions per annum and, with the support of Plexal, it’s committed to raising that to £75m by 2025. This ambition is in line with our extensive experience in enabling innovation and facilitating ways for SMEs to work with government and unlock the potential of startup innovation.

Andrew Roughan, CEO at Plexal, said: “Working with ACE highlights that the highest levels of government are focused on delivering innovation and fostering the spirit of collaboration across public and private sectors – which is the foundation of Plexal’s mission.

“We’re confident that our expertise and understanding of the UK startup and scaleup ecosystem can deliver significant outcomes for government departments looking to tackle long-standing challenges, while in turn opening doors for burgeoning companies with ambition to scale and showcase the full potential of their technology.”

Simon Christoforato, Vivace CEO, said: “Our successful bid really underscores our commitment to ACE and what we can deliver to national security, public safety and wider government missions through our collaborative approach to innovation. Having Plexal on board will add a new dimension to the way we bring the best ideas, talent and capabilities to the table so that we can do more for a more diverse range of customers.”

ACE’s Senior Responsible Owner, Richard Alcock CBE, Director Data, Information and Operations in the Homeland Security Group at the Home Office, said: “I am immensely proud of ACE’s significant achievements. ACE provides a platform that brings together the right expertise and perspectives from across industry and academia to tackle some of the most complex and pressing public sector challenges. This next phase of growth will allow it to be used more widely across government.” 

Toby Jones, Head of ACE, said: “ACE has a well-earned reputation as the go-to platform for mission-led innovation that delivers real impact to front-line problems. We have ambitious plans to scale our operations, our reach and our capabilities to meet the increasing demand and I look forward to bringing these to life through our continued partnership with Vivace and, now, with Plexal too.”