Why there’s never been a better time for Australian cyber security companies to connect with UK counterparts

Plexal’s had the pleasure of ramping up our partnership with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) over the past month, building towards a visit from a delegation of Australian cyber security companies to connect with local UK counterparts this week.

Australia has grand ambitions for its cyber security sector with aims for the country to be the most cyber secure nation in the world by 2030, which is being worked towards with a National Cyber Security Strategy that was set out in December 2022. The Down Under cyber security sector is growing at pace with revenue increasing 52% over five years to hit AU$3.7bn in 2022, which is on track for a predicted AU$6bn in 2026.

Meanwhile, Britain’s National Cyber Strategy has a target for the UK to remain a leading, responsible and democratic cyber power with the ability to protect and promote our cyberspace in support of national goals. As for economic impact, the 2023 UK Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis found there’s now close to 2,000 cyber security companies across the nation while revenue generation and jobs have crossed £10.5bn and 5,300 respectively.

With such similar objectives, clearly there’s room for collaboration between the UK and Australia. And this aligns with two of the National Cyber Strategy’s pillars around growing a connected ecosystem of organisations  to create a whole-of-society approach to cyber (pillar two) and reinforcing international alliances for collective security and prosperity (pillar four). 

The Australian cyber delegation’s first stop on the itinerary was London. Our Innovation Lead Jessica Moffatt-Owen helped jumpstart their visit to Australia House with a presentation on the British cyber ecosystem and Plexal’s experience building the UK’s most connected cyber ecosystem – through programmes such as NCSC For Startups, Cyber Runway, DiSH and the UK Gulf Women in Cybersecurity Fellowship.

The ten Australian cyber security companies forming the delegation includes: 

BankVault’s product, MasterKey, is an intelligent new approach to passwordless authentication for web services.

Castlepoint Systems  
Castlepoint tells you what information you have, where it is, and who is doing what to it. 

Fortifyedge is behind MoveID – a biometric solution that pairs smoothly with your preferred smartwatch.

HackHunter provides detailed real-time visibility of all WiFi devices, including what WiFi devices are transmitting in an environment. 

HoneyTrace is a lightweight, SaaS, data loss detection solution that works inside and outside your network.

Internet 2.0  
Internet 2.0’s military grade, core products include Cloaking Firewall, Malcore AND 5th Column.

Lighthouse is a commercial off-the-shelf software system designed to assist organisations in meeting their obligations under any relevant legislation, standards or industry frameworks.

Outlander Solutions  
Outlander Solutions products enable platforms, mounted and dis-mounted soldier systems to be seamlessly integrated and interoperable in real-time across the battlefield.

Prophecy International  
Prophecy International is a listed Australian B2B/B2G software and SaaS company and its Snare product suite provides a solution for detecting cyber threats and achieving compliance.

Sekuro is a cyber security and digital resiliency solutions provider that helps CIOs and CISOs take a strategic approach to cyber security risk mitigation and digital transformation. 

As part of Plexal’s involvement in welcoming the delegation, we co-sponsored the UK-Australia Cyber Networking portion of the visit alongside the New South Wales Government. Held at Australia House, we’d extended the invitation to Plexal’s cyber community in support of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission initiative and it was a delight to see so many familiar faces in attendance.

Opening the speeches on the night, Anastasia Nishnianidze, Trade Investment Commissioner to the UK and Ireland at Austrade, said: “Today we’ve had the pleasure of having Plexal come and talk to our companies about the amazing programmes they’re running on behalf of the UK government to help accelerate cyber security innovation as well as how they’re helping corporates solve their cyber security problems. And I think that’s what the UK does so well, you have a lot of engagement from corporates and governments to really build an ecosystem.

“In 2021, Australia experienced 745 cyber-attacks per day – or one every two minutes. That’s pretty sobering. And it’s projected cyber-attacks are expected to double over the next five years. We like to say at the High Commission that it’s important to do business with like-minded partners and there’s no more important partners than Australia and the UK.”

Stephen Smith, Australian High Commissioner to the UK, added: “There’s never been a better time to be Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK. There’s never been a better time for Australian industry and business to try and do business in the UK and there’s never been a better time for a cyber security company in Australia to start collaborating with their UK counterparts. Why is that? Because we’re seeing the modernisation and transfortation of the Australia-UK relationship.”

He referred to AUKUS, the international security partnership between Australia, the UK and the US, through which each local government works with the next to share information that can lead to stronger emerging technologies, whether that’s linked to supercomputers, critical infrastructure or indeed cyber security.

Closing off the speaking sessions, Plexal CCO and Head of Innovation, Saj Huq, said: “The UK cyber sector is growing year on year and at the core of it is a coherent National Cyber Strategy that’s been in place since 2016, inclusive of innovation, SME support and startup growth. 

“It’s through the businesses that you’re all running that will create the solutions to help us grow and prosper as an economy and stay safe over the long-term. And that’s why it’s a core part of the UK government’s strategy, which brings certainty to the market to collaborate.  

“I think that the opportunity here, much as Australia tends to act as a gateway market to the Asia Pacific region, is that the UK is also a gateway market into Europe and the US. We’ve got the world’s industry here and I hope that provides you with opportunities to work with the commercial industry but increasingly government.” 

Seeing cyber leaders on our current programmes mixing shoulders with alumni was really encouraging and reinforces the purpose of bringing founders together. From NCSC For Startups through to various Cyber Runway streams – the conversation flowed between our community, the Australian visitors and wider ecosystem, with many staying well past the 8pm event finish!

You can continue building your relationships at our Cyber Lates session at Plexal Stratford on Thursday 28th September, during which we’ll be asking the question: what’s it really like to raise a funding round? 

The evening will be led by Plexal’s Innovation Ecosystem Lead, Diane Gilbert, at our Stratford workspace on the HERE EAST campus where you’ll also hear from speakers including: 

  • Emma Humphrey, CEO of Kuro, a company that is lowering the barriers to cloud for all and is seeking investment 
  • Henry Whorwood, Head of Research & Consultancy at Beauhurst, which tracks and analyses startup and investment activity 
  • Joshua Walter, Partner at Osney Capital, which invests in early-stage cyber startups 
  • Robin Brattel, CEO and co-founder of Lab 1, which just raised £1m to address data breaches and supply chain risk 
  • Sarah Barber, Chief Executive Officer at Jenson Funding Partners, which has launched numerous SEIS and EIS Funds 

Don’t miss an evening of networking and interesting discussion over food and drink alongside peers from the cyber and technology community – book your ticket now!

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