GCHQ and Wayra showcase latest Cyber start-ups

The second cohort of GCHQ Cyber Accelerator start-ups showcased their ideas at a special event in Cheltenham.

The Accelerator provides an intense nine-month period of growth for the companies, giving them unique access to GCHQ and National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) world class experts and the Telefonica global business network. The Accelerator supports the National Cyber Security Strategy to help grow the national and regional cyber security business eco-system.

Introducing the nine start-ups, Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for Cyber Skills and Growth at the NCSC, said: “We want to develop new capabilities, ideas and solutions to problems that everyone can use to secure themselves. The Accelerator is based in Cheltenham because the majority of our experts are at GCHQ.”

The project matches up cyber experts with innovative companies to solve real world problems and make everyone’s lives online more secure. Putting GCHQ’s experts together with clever young companies creates magic, said Chris.

Also speaking at the event was Harry Davies of Wayra, a start-up accelerator which leverages communications giant Telefonica’s global resources to help identify and scale up UK-based start-ups. Telefonica’s brand in the UK is O2. He said: “We are in a world where two people in an office with no marketing money can build a product like WhatsApp that can fundamentally revolutionise our industry. We are seeing this incredible explosion of start-ups having a huge impact on the industry.”

Cheltenham MP, Alex Chalk, who champions growth of the cyber security in the town, added: “The UK cyber security industry is already worth £22 billion a year to the UK economy. It’s growing around 10% per annum and employing around 100,000 professionals. Cheltenham offers a unique opportunity to create a digital eco-system where the most talented people move in and out of GCHQ, bringing the best minds into the private sector and innovation back into Government.”

Cheltenham is one of just two Government cyber innovation centres in the UK.

The nine start-ups include Secure Code Warrior, which is turning developers into the first line of cyber defence in an organisation. Secure Code Warrior has built a hands-on, gamified Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) learning platform to help developers write secure code.

Another start-up is Intruder, which provides a proactive security monitoring platform for busy IT administrators, to detecting system weaknesses before hackers do.

Nearly seven million laptops were stolen or reported stolen last year. In one weekend, Heathrow recovered over 100 laptops which were lost or stolen. ExactTrak makes embedded technology that protects data and devices, even when devices are turned off.

Trust Elevate solves the problem of age verification and parental consent for young adults and children in online transactions. Over 80% of children lie about their age to get online onto social media platforms. 96% of their parents concerned about their kids’ privacy, but parents want them to use the internet.