The UK’s largest cyber accelerator, Cyber Runway, delivered by Plexal and funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) in partnership with Deloitte and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies, has welcomed 41 startups and scaleups to its Grow and Scale streams.
Comprising two separate cohorts, the fresh talent joins an active alumni network of over 300 startups, which has been built in the two years since Cyber Runway launched. The significance of this rapid community expansion shouldn’t be understated, particularly given its breadth of businesses, with 50% of companies are based outside of London and the South East, 50% are female-led and 43% are ethnic minority-led.
This aligns with Plexal’s mission of closing the gap between organisations and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) to increase representation of individuals from diverse backgrounds within organisations, provide them with equal opportunities by meeting their needs and creating inclusive cultures within workspaces.
Designed to address some of the biggest challenges facing cyber security, such as diversity and inclusion and regional representation, the Cyber Runway programme supports the most promising innovators at various stages of growth.
The accelerator’s Grow stream will focus on getting startups to nail their product-market fit, get commercialisation support and lay the foundations for growth, while the Scale stream will help scaleups and high-growth startups blast away any barriers to growth nationally and around the world.
Respective examples of the Grow and Scale stream cohorts include The Zensory, a female-led business that helps reduce alert fatigue, human error and alleviate burnout within security teams, and Optalysys, which has secured over £32m in funding for its innovations in homomorphic encryption that’s led to groundbreaking semiconductor technology to reduce energy consumption, boost processing power and enhance data security.
Further demonstrating the value of community and network, Safetech Innovations expanded its Romanian operation into the UK with a security operations centre in Plexal Stratford, while other cohort members have been involved in additional government-backed programmes such as NCSC For Startups.
The full cohorts for Grow and Scale Stream are listed below:
|Grow Stream||Scale Stream|
|Abri Corporate Services||Athenian Tech|
|Aufgabe Limited||Foxtrot Technologies|
|HoneypotDB||Safetech Innovations Global Services|
|ITUS Secure Technologies||TELXAI|
|Punk Security||Trilateral Research Veracity Trust Network|
Cohorts from both streams will benefit from:
- Virtual and in-person business masterclasses
- Mentoring, engineering support from CSIT and access to CSIT’s data and testing centre
- Technical product development support
- Opportunities to connect with international cyber hubs
- Regional events – previously held in locations including Cardiff, Belfast, Yorkshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Lancaster, Scarborough and Harwell
- Connections to investors and corporates to fuel growth
Along with stream-specific activities, Cyber Runway will also connect the cohorts with investors, security leaders and the government to support them in developing technologies which address commercial needs. These companies will also receive support with becoming more diverse and inclusive.
Saj Huq, CCO and Head of Innovation at Plexal, commented: “In light of evolving threats and the challenges facing our critical national infrastructure, it’s important that we continue to seek new opportunities which leverage the benefits of emerging technologies and address the needs of government and industry at large through close collaboration and partnership.
“We’re excited to welcome two cohorts to Cyber Runway’s Grow and Scale streams, helping some of the UK’s most promising young companies to develop their technologies, and in turn strengthen the UK’s digital economy and drive greater cyber resilience.”
UPDATE 04 October 2023: one of the companies on Grow withdrew from the programme.