Cyber Runway applications open, delivering scaleup support not for the fainthearted

We’ve officially opened applications for the fourth edition of Cyber Runway. And as part of this year’s programme, the support at scaleup stage has been enhanced with founders set to receive more focused advice on key growth areas such as investment and international expansion. 

A growth platform for early-stage startups, surging scaleups and developing leaders, Cyber Runway is delivered by Plexal and funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology – with support from the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) and Deloitte. Our programme provides innovators at different stages with the tools to Launch, Grow and Scale their companies or Ignite their leadership.

Plexal designed Cyber Runway to accelerate the growth of startups and create greater connectivity between regional, national and international networks, which has seen tours spanning Belfast to Dundee and Surrey to San Francisco. We’ve also worked to increase entrepreneurial representation and navigate the economic landscape, which are among the major challenges facing the UK’s cyber sector. 

The programme stream breakdown is as follows: 

  • Launch: A bootcamp to help budding entrepreneurs, graduates, technologists and spinouts get their business off the ground and build connections. 
  • Grow: A programme for cyber startups and SMEs to nail their product-market fit, get commercialisation support and lay the foundations for growth. 
  • Scale: A programme helping scaleups and high-growth startups blast away any barriers to growth nationally and around the world. 
  • Ignite: A programme for exceptional founders of cyber security startups to help them develop as leaders and scale their businesses. 

We’ve revised the Scale stream format so that cohort members benefit from even more in-person content with increased targeted support. Members will participate in smaller Growth Groups that focus on key areas, from investment to sales, while also working on individualised Growth Plans to help them develop their market penetration or expansion plans and growth roadmaps. Additionally, they’ll have the chance to apply for a place on a delegation to the Slush 2024 conference in Helsinki and a second international trade mission. 

A two-day, in-person event will see the cohort come together for a deep dive at the beginning of the programme. Founders can also apply for even more in-depth and intensive support through Scale X – with just six spaces available.

Diane Gilbert, Innovation Ecosystem Lead at Plexal, says: “We’re delighted to work alongside the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology for our fourth Cyber Runway programme. We request founder feedback with each edition and the key desire from our most recent Scale cohort was more support focused on individual needs. As a result, this edition is not for the fainthearted – we’ll challenge your assumptions and the way you think to get the very best out of you to help you scale.”

Cyber Runway graduate Melissa Chambers, CEO and co-founder of site-to-site security business Sitehop, says: “In completing Cyber Runway Launch and progressing onto the Grow and Ignite streams with Plexal and DSIT, I successfully found an ecosystem and mentors without a vested interest in Sitehop, which was so valuable and refreshing because it allowed me to connect with a community for unbiased answers.

“I’ve applied Cyber Runway’s connections, exposure, insights and advice to successfully raise £5m for Sitehop, which we’re using to fuel commercial growth, fulfil customer orders, develop the product roadmap and build our team locally as well as in markets including Brazil, North America and India.”

To date, Cyber Runway has engaged over 300 companies across both the programme itself and regional events, with 49% companies outside of London and South East, 41% minority ethnic-led and 32% female-led.

This has resulted in a truly connected, nationwide community, which was most recently witnessed at Cyber Runway Live earlier this year. The event not only celebrated the graduations of more than 70 companies across Launch, Grow, Scale and Ignite, but heard rich insights from government, founders and experts.