Region’s cyber companies selected to join national tech accelerator

Opportunity knocks for cyber

A cybersecurity programme funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and delivered by Plexal, Deloitte and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies, has announced five companies across the region have been invited to join its latest cohort of 17, including four from overseas.

The companies have innovative solutions that relate to identity, IoT, cloud security, autonomous cyber defence and privacy.

And, conscious that cybersecurity (as well as the tech sector as a whole) needs to do more to enable diversity, the cyber security programme, run by LORCA, also encouraged applications from under-represented founders. As a result, 18 per cent of its fifth cohort includes scaleups with female founders or CEOs and 18 per cent have leaders from BAME backgrounds.

Its accelerator will support members from across the UK’s cyber ecosystem, including ZeroGuard from Stratford-upon-Avonm and Cyberhive from Newbury.

LORCA also aims to cultivate links with cyber hubs and sister programmes from across the UK’s maturing cyber ecosystem, and members of its fifth cohort have also been through other UK-based programmes. Cheltenham-based The CyberFish has taken part in the HutZero programme, while TrustStamp, which is also based in Cheltenham, is a graduate of the National Cyber Security Centre’s accelerator. Both have joined LORCA to accelerate the next phase of their scaleup journeys.

The goal of LORCA is to help scale the cyber innovations industry and society need most, while acting as a global landing pad and launchpad for cyber companies.

Its year-long programme will support the 17 early-stage companies to grow, secure investment, access new markets and participate in overseas trade missions, with the ultimate aim of growing the British cybersecurity industry. They’ll also keep 100% of their equity and IP.

Since LORCA launched in June 2018, its programme has significantly surpassed its investment target, with venture capital funding for LORCA companies now at £141 million and with more than 650 commercial contracts signed. Most recently, cohort three member CounterCraft received $5m in funding and cohort one alumni CyberOwl raised £1.8m.  HSBC invested $7m in LORCA alumni Privitar in June following the company’s $80 million Series C investment in April, which was the fourth largest deal involving a UK startup in the eight weeks since lockdown, according to data compiled by Plexal and Beauhurst.

Commenting on its fifth cohort, Saj Huq, LORCA’s director, said: “The pandemic has accelerated many emerging digital trends, as well as the inevitable risks that accompany them. Cybersecurity challenges that were previously on the horizon have been brought forward as society and our economy becomes more connected, and security more critical than ever. The arrival of our fifth cohort highlights that there is world-leading talent and cutting-edge technology available to address these challenges and enable secure, societal-wide digital transformation.”

Last month we reported that London-based Plexal, which delivers the LORCA cybersecurity programme, has partnered with Hub8 – a purpose-built workspace dedicated to supporting Cheltenham’s flourishing cyber community.