The UK-based entrepreneurial network Tech Nation has announced the 20 firms taking part in its first national cyber security scale-up programme, funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as part of the government’s 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy.
Tech Nation specialises in scale-up programmes for startups to help entrepreneurs and founders navigate the challenges of running small, rapidly growing businesses, but this is the first to be specifically aimed at accelerating the growth of the country’s leading startups to boost the digital security sector.
Announced in February, the new Tech Nation programme is one of several government-backed initiatives aimed at boosting the UK’s cyber security sector, sitting alongside the newly launched NCSC Cyber Accelerator that is to focus on detection, response and recovery technologies, and the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (Lorca), which is working with its second cohort of companies to focus on user-centric security and securing supply chains.
Announcing the participants in the first round of the programme, Tech Nation said 45% of the companies are based outside of London, with cohort headquarters located across the UK in Reading, Belfast, Cheltenham, London, Glasgow, Bristol, Cardiff, Caerphilly, and Brighton and Hove.
The breadth of innovation and application across the participants in areas such as machine learning, blockchain, biometrics and cloud security, is “testament to the UK’s world-leading cyber security and broader technology sectors”, said Tech Nation.
The companies will benefit from a series of workshops held across the UK, led by industry leaders such as Digital Shadows co-founder James Chappell, Darktrace co-founders Emily Orton and Dave Palmer, and Deep3 co-founder and CEO Richard Yorke.
The programme will also include meetups and networking support, to help the scaleups navigate common barriers to growth, with guidance on everything from how to recruit the right talent to meeting goals for international expansion.
Following the call for applications in February, the successful cohort was chosen by a panel of expert judges from the public and private sector. The judges assessed applicants against their growth record to date, current scaling plans and expertise, and long-term business potential nationally and internationally.
Digital minister Margot James said the programme demonstrated the depth of tech talent right across the country. “This important scheme will not only allow promising cyber security startups to access world-class expert advice, but also help us achieve our aim of making Britain the safest place in the world to be online,” she said.
Karen Bradley, secretary of state for Northern Ireland, said: “I am delighted that Belfast-based companies SaltDNA and RepKnight will be joining the Tech Nation Cyber programme. Cyber security is one of the fastest-growing digital tech sectors in Northern Ireland and attracts record levels of global investment.
“There is tremendous talent on offer and world-class Universities which make Northern Ireland the ideal location for fast-growth tech companies,” she said.
David Mundell, secretary of state for Scotland, said Scotland’s reputation as an innovator in technology is world renowned. “I’m delighted to see us leading the way in cyber security. Finding ways to fight cyber threats is one of the world’s most pressing problems, and Glasgow’s tech sector has the innovation and experience to be on the front line,” he said, congratulating My1Login on being chosen to join the programme.
Kevin Foster, UK minister for Wales, said cyber security represents an increasingly important part of our daily lives. “Wales already plays a leading role in keeping our data and systems safe while training up the next generation of experts. This programme will initially support two Welsh companies in Caerphilly and Cardiff in developing their potential, and I look forward to seeing other companies from across Wales getting involved in the future,” he said.
Ollie Bone, cyber programme Lead at Tech Nation, said the success for a handful of UK cyber security innovators in recent years is more than could be imagined. “They have enhanced the nation’s reputation for producing world-class technology, while also helping to pave the way for many more startups hoping to follow suit,” said Bone.