Plexal, DSIT and DBT unite for UK-US trade mission at RSA Conference with Cyber Runway alumni 

Plexal has embarked on a UK-US trade mission with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), taking place in San Francisco at the 2024 RSA Conference from Monday 6th to Thursday 9th May.

We’re travelling to the RSA Conference with a delegation of eight selected startup founders who have completed our Cyber Runway accelerator, which is delivered on behalf of DSIT. They were chosen through a competitive process that factored in their existing US presence, expectations from the trade mission and what expertise they could bring to the experience for their peers.

Our recent Cyber Runway Live event held at Plexal Stratford saw over 70 companies at varying stages of development – launching, growing and scaling – graduate from the third edition of Cyber Runway and enter our alumni community.

During his welcome speech on the day, Viscount Camrose, Minister for AI and Intellectual Property, said: “Supporting the cyber ecosystem is one of the pillars of our National Cyber Strategy. Backed by £2.6bn of investment, the strategy aims to protect the UK digital economy and to ensure we remain one of the leading global cyber powers. To do this, we need a cyber sector with the right structure, the right partnerships and the right networks in place. Cyber Runway is a key part of this.”

Alumni form a core component of our Plexal ecosystem, with their programme completion setting leaders on the path for more opportunities to further immerse themselves within our community, enrolling into other innovation initiatives, speaking at events, acting as mentors or, in this case, exploring international expansion.

The annual RSA Conference will allow the Cyber Runway alumni to expand their cyber security footprint globally, crossing over to into the US through the event where the sector’s buyers, investors and potential partners will be clustered.  

One the most significant events on the global cyber security calendar, the RSA Conference sees a diverse range of cyber practitioners, strategists, thought leaders and investors convene in one location for a unique networking opportunity that will allow our founders to thrive.

Diane Gilbert, Innovation Ecosystem Lead at Plexal, says: “Our Cyber Runway Grow stream supported startups to lay the foundations for growth, while the Scale stream helped scaleups blast away growth barriers at home and abroad. We’re thrilled to be continuing this mission with our alumni at the RSA Conference, doubling down on the commitment to support cyber security companies to overcome challenges and achieve their goals with the support of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and the Department for Business and Trade.”

The founders attending the RSA Conference with Plexal, DSIT and DBT include:

Chris Jefferson is CTO and co-founder of Advai, which works at the frontier of artificial intelligence. It discovers where AI will fail – and why. Chris is responsible for identifying new technology and coordinating R&D for Advai’s AI Insights and Labs solutions.

Mayur Upadhyaya is CEO and co-founder of APIContext (formerly Contxt), which leads in API management and integrity solutions. Mayur has two decades of experience in the digital industry and has successfully scaled businesses from scratch to $30m+ ARR.

Iain Johnston is Managing Director of Blackwired, which has built a reputation for unique tactical, strategic and operational, finished intelligence regarding unknown threats from the dark web. Iain has held diverse roles, including being an officer in the British Army. 

Sarah Blundell is the COO of CyberHive, which protects the most valued organisations – people, data, assets – with patented technology that’s simple, secure and performant. Sarah has experience in operations management, customer success, risk and compliance.

Rakhee Ojah-Maharaj is the COO of eXate, which has software specialised in identifying and automating fine-grain access controls to data. Rakhee has worked in investment banking at HSBC, defining strategies using technology to achieve business outcomes.

Al Lakhani is the CEO and founder of IDEE, which created AuthN: a password-less, phish-proof MFA solution deployed in just 15 minutes. Al previously founded the forensics and cyber practice at Alvarez & Marsal, which he grew to 65 staff and $35m annual revenue.

Luigi Fidelio is CRO and co-founder at Messagenius (Secure Messaging at Work), which is the secure and self-hosted Slack alternative that delivers enterprise messaging for productive and integrated communications among colleagues.

Melissa Chambers is CEO and co-founder of Sitehop, which is a hardware security company that’s launched the world’s lowest latency IPsec security solution for Data-in-Motion. Melissa has spent her career working in tech and growing startup companies.

Any RSA Conference attendees interested in connecting to the Cyber Runway alumni should contact

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