NCSC For Startups: The “life-changing” power of relationship building

NCSC For Startups 2023 intake

With the most recent NCSC for Startups programme now over, we’re delighted to have had the graduating startups praise the initiative as “hugely inspiring and rewarding”, “transformational” and even “life-changing”.

To recap, the innovative companies that joined us and the National Cyber Security Centre at the start of this year included:

  • Lexverify is an AI-powered assistant that prevents legal and compliance risks on electronic communication in real time. This saves companies time and money, protects their reputation, and provides continuous training to employees.  
  • RoboShadow is a cyber security startup aiming to bridge the cyber technology gap for everyone through simple software with advanced functionality that’s free or ultra-low cost.  
  • Rowden Technologies is working on the digital fingerprinting of devices to help secure networks. The business integrates, customises and operationalises advanced technology from a wider ecosystem that it orchestrates for government customers.  
  • ZORB Security provides cyber protection for business employees who need to access confidential data from outside of the corporate office. 

It was fantastic to watch the businesses expand their networks among important cyber security influencers in the Cheltenham and Manchester ecosystems. However, from our perspective, a major factor in the entrepreneurs’ positive experience of the programme was the bonds they formed with one another while working with us.

Based in Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge and London, our most recent intake is scattered around the country. Despite this, they’re all eager to continue to be active participants in the Cheltenham cyber community and our NCSC For Startups alumni network. They’re also hugely keen to keep in touch with one another and  have already started making plans for regular catchups and social activities together.  

One of the founders stated  they intend to “remain in contact with our cohort and build relationships with the alumni” now that the programme is over. Two more leaders have agreed to act as each other’s “accountability buddies”, setting up regular phone calls to check in on each other’s progress toward the goals they set for themselves during the programme.

Refinforcing the power of relationships, Cristian Gherhes, CEO and founder at Lexverify, says: “The whole experience was brilliant. Making new connections and getting to know the other companies on the programme are definitely key highlights.”

We realised the importance of building these connections when we saw how eager the startups were to share their expertise with the rest of the group. For the first time ever, the entrepreneurs volunteered to run sessions for the rest of the intake, sharing what they had learnt on topics such as business models, marketing and team culture.

In terms of the valuable connections that we can offer our most recent intake as they move into our alumni network, which spans over 60 companies that have collectively raised over £430m and created over 700 jobs, we hope that this is just the beginning. And to help them along the way, we’ve urged this intake to join their local cyber clusters to maintain this spirit of connection and knowledge sharing in the UK’s cyber startup scene.

At Plexal, we truly believe that fostering collaboration is crucial to accomplishing the NCSC’s objective of making the UK the safest place to live and work online and the feedback from the founders demonstrates clearly that our mission of closing the gap between organisations – small and large, local and global, private and public – and working towards a common goal is having an impact.