The startups on a mission to make UK the safest place to live and work online

As the innovation partner to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), we’re pleased to have welcomed a new intake of cyber companies to the NCSC For Startups programme.

Over the course of 12 weeks, six startups will receive technical expertise, insights and guidance from the NCSC, Plexal and partners including Deloitte, CyNam, Hub 8 and QA. The programme is designed to help them develop their business, enhance solutions, adapt their current technology and generate ideas to meet the biggest cyber security challenges facing the UK, such as protecting SMEs and citizens and reducing the risks involved in remote working.

The UK’s cyber sector continues to demonstrate unwavering growth and value to the economy, experiencing a 3% increase in total annual revenue in 2023, reaching £10.5bn. Additionally, the sector generated 5,300 new jobs and attracted £302m in investment in the past year. As this industry keeps growing, there is a need for more startups to provide customised solutions for specific security needs. 

The six companies who join the NCSC For Startups programme are:

  • Cynalytica specialises in industrial control system (ICS), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and operational technology (OT) security. The business offers all-sources communication capture as well as advanced machine learning and AI-driven threat detection, protecting critical infrastructures with predictive cyber security and operation solutions. 
  • Droplet is a server and application delivery platform securing modern and legacy environments for public and private organisations across military, nuclear, local government, central government, NHS and enterprise in a true isolation encryption layer running on any platform. 
  • Iothic provides technology to enable post-quantum secure, smart networks to function without reliance on third parties or single points of vulnerability, which presents higher productivity and asset utilisation from broader operational connectivity – at lower risk and lower cost.  
  • Kuro is simplifying the cloud through software that helps organisations overcome numerous barriers to accessing cloud capabilities, which can often result in non-expert users finding the cloud confusing and inaccessible. 
  • OrbiSky is working to transform business operations through development of next-generation encrypted data management technology, doing so with creation of an innovative edge data unit.  
  • Salt Communications provides a secure mobile solution for sharing sensitive information. Organisations using its solution can accelerate decision making, increase productivity and drive efficiency. 

Saj Huq, CCO and Head of innovation at Plexal, says: “Digital risks are now omnipresent, not just for individuals, but also for businesses and governments, who are having to anticipate increasingly sophisticated efforts to attack critical public infrastructure. Technology developed by UK startups is playing a pivotal role in how we respond to the rapidly evolving threat landscape to ensure we are equipped to meet new challenges as they emerge.

“NCSC For Startups is a unique opportunity for innovative entrepreneurs to explore new concepts and collaborate with the UK government, Plexal and a wide range of industry and academic partners to develop and test cyber solutions that the UK needs most. We are delighted to welcome our latest intake of six talented leaders to our first NCSC For Startups Programme of 2024.” 

The NCSC For Startups programme engages corporations, consultants, investors and national security agencies to take breakthrough technologies to market faster than possible in a purely commercial model.

Previous programme members include Countercraft, which provides a deception-based cyber security platform to detect targeted attacks, leading to its status among the one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, Nettoken, which is designed to create a simplified digital life for the household as the first passwordless password manager for everyday internet users, and Secure Code Warrior, which has raised a £50m Series C round for its work on reducing vulnerabilities by upskilling developers.

To date, over 70 companies have collectively raised over £512m and created over 1,600 jobs via this programme.

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