The government launched the Innovate UK Fast Start Competition in April to “fast-track the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups”. And we’re proud to announce that ThinkCyber, a graduate of our cybersecurity accelerator’s first cohort, has been awarded grant money from the scheme.
The startup, which offers cybersecurity training that results in behaviour change, will configure its real-time security awareness software for SMEs that might be struggling with the security risks that come with remote working.
We spoke to the company’s co-founder CEO Tim Ward about what’s next…
Congrats Tim! So what will the grant enable you to do?
We’ll use it to build a user-led understanding of SME’s rapid communications needs and challenges in the current context. We’ll conduct interviews with SMEs and talk to our existing network.
We’ll then work with the Cardiff HuFex team, who specialise in human factors psychology, and designers at the agency Something.Digital to design effective behavioural interventions and communications that are suited to the unique needs of SMEs.
We’ll also work with Revcelerate to determine effective SME routes to market, including a potential freemium offer.
Why did you focus on the SME market for this competition?
The SME and micro enterprise bracket accounts for 99% of UK businesses. But they tend to have limited budgets and limited tools at their disposal to drive new behaviours among their staff or respond to a crisis like COVID-19.
The tools they do have won’t be up to the significant challenges they now face. In a cybersecurity context, there’s been an increase in COVID-19 related attacks but many SMEs think they aren’t or won’t be the target of cyber attacks. However, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Report, 43% of attacks target SMEs.
We felt we could make the biggest impact by supporting smaller businesses and we were particularly interested in exploring a freemium offer.
It all happened very quickly, what was the grant process like?
We had to pull together a proposal answering four core questions in just 10 days (we’d normally spend at least a month on something like this) to meet the deadline. 8,600 proposals were submitted to Innovate UK (which resulted in a delay in issuing the results) and in the end 800 projects were funded, including ours.
What advice would you give other startups with solutions that could be relevant to a world grappling with a pandemic?
Reflect on how your core proposition relates to the new world order. This may not require a significant pivot, it might just be that you need to tailor what you do to the pains and gains that are higher up in a customer’s priority list at the moment.
And then get your message out there in the form of helpful and interesting content and thought leadership that helps you build relationships with current or potential future clients.