As ever there was no shortage of activity at Plexal Stratford this week and among the most significant moments came the grand finale of a programme we’ve delivered over the past few months: the AWS European Defence Accelerator Showcase.
The AWS European Defence Accelerator saw Plexal work with Amazon Web Services in a bid to tackling the many challenges impacting national security organisations across Europe, including increased cyber threats through to energy resilience, with solutions required for land, air, maritime, space and cyber domains.
And having selected 13 innovative startups and scaleups for the now concluded AWS European Defence Accelerator, Wednesday 8th November saw us assemble the cohort teams, AWS executives, Plexal staff and members of the defence community at our Stratford workspace for a celebration of the work we’ve achieved together, with a spotlight on each company.
James Gayner, Plexal’s Director of Defence, said: “The 13 companies selected for the AWS European Defence Accelerator have worked very hard to get to this point and it’s been our huge privilege, on behalf of AWS and Plexal, to work with them and get to this point.
“To even get on this programme means that they have passed a high bar – we had over 100 applicants, so expectations were extremely high, and I can safely say that they exceeded them all in every measure. These are the stars of the future, so be you government, contractor or investor, please get to know them.
“Finally, I also want to thank upfront our wonderful group of mentors and speakers. They’ve given stellar support to this programme and without them, quite frankly, it would not have been possible.”
Plexal CEO Andrew Roughan, added: “Thank you to Amazon Web Services – their commitment, vision, and particularly the personal drive that Grant Humes has put into this programme, is the reason we’re all here. We’re delighted to work with you, previously, now and certainly in the future.”
Grant Hume, Business Development Manager of National Security, Defence, Space, VC and Startup at AWS, concluded: “The most important thing for AWS is to make sure that our customers have access to the technology they need to meet their mission outcomes. And I think it’s fair to say that working with Plexal and this quite exceptional cohort we’ve been able to show the customer what’s possible today, not tomorrow. It has been a privilege and an honour to work with such a talented team of CEOs, founders and mentors in order to support our UK and NATO National Security and Defence community with the digital solutions they need now and in the future for operational success.”
As James declared, the companies chosen for the AWS European Defence Accelerator are the stars of the future, so here’s what they had to say about their experience.
John B. Jaeger, CEO and Co-founder at Hala systems, said: “The fact the team was able to convene an extraordinary roster of speakers, mentors and friends was the most impressive thing. Notably, the level of access and engagement from AWS stakeholders was of the highest value. I’d say it is too early to see if the many potential impacts will ultimately pan out (the journey in this sector is long), but several threads that show promise are active because of our participation and I have no doubt some will ultimately have a profound impact on our business.”
Indranil Pan, Chief Scientist and Co-founder at Quaisr, said: “We got some warm intros to defence primes, which is very hard to get otherwise. Expert insights on how to navigate the defence sector were very useful, while the mentor sessions were amazing and we look forward to keeping in touch with our mentor.”
Luke Terry, CTO and Co-founder at Mindlink, said: “We’ve built relationships with knowledge experts, which is deepening our understanding of the sector. We’ve also established a couple of potential partnerships with other vendors to combine our capabilities.”
Arno Hollosi, CTO, Blackshark.ai, said: “The programme was nothing short of transformative for me. It not only expanded my understanding of the sector but also introduced us to invaluable partners. This unique combination of knowledge expansion and network building is unmatched elsewhere. Our participation in the programme has led to significant positive impacts, including forming strategic partnerships. We’re also thrilled to announce a product release on AWS, a direct outcome of this programme.”