The government-backed London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (Lorca) has announced its fifth cohort of cyber security scale-ups, with 18% led by women, and another 18% led by people from a BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background.
The latest group of companies to move through the scheme will focus on security technology that enables a connected society, digital identity, protecting the internet of things (IoT), and ensuring secure and private data sharing, all with an eye on some of the challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“The pandemic has accelerated many emerging digital trends, as well as the inevitable risks that accompany them,” said Lorca director Saj Huq. “Cyber security challenges that were previously on the horizon have been brought forward as society and our economy become 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. Lorca intends to support these companies by helping them scale in the UK and international markets and achieve a closer product-market fit.”
Lorca said that this time round, it went out of its way to encourage applications from under-represented groups in support of increased industry diversity. It is also onboarding four scale-ups from Argentina, Israel and the Netherlands, all of which hope to enter the UK market as part of an international expansion.
“We have members from across the UK and international cyber hubs, while several of the members in our fifth cohort are led by women and BAME founders,” said Huq. “But there is still much more for the UK’s cyber community to do to ensure solutions are being created by diverse innovators.”
The 12-month programme, delivered by the Plexal innovation centre, based at the 2012 Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, is designed to help budding security scale-ups take their businesses to the next level, offering technical and commercial support from Deloitte, and engineering and testing support from the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast.
The 17 firms selected for the fifth cohort will also receive industry support from Lorca’s corporate partners, which include Lloyds Banking Group, Dell Technologies and Kudelski Security, as well as access to the Cheltenham-based Hub8 cyber workspace, and a series of events, forums and introductions.
They join a growing community of UK security firms that have used the programme to grow, secure investment, access new markets and expand overseas.
Some of the scheme’s success stories include CounterCraft, a developer of automated protection systems, which has now received $5m in funding, and Privitar, a developer of enterprise data protection software, which took a $7m investment from HSBC in June 2020, following an $80m Series C funding round in April – one of the largest deals involving a UK startup to take place during lockdown. As always, Lorca will take no equity in any of the companies it mentors.
The 17-strong latest group of Lorca companies are: AdvSTAR, BlockAPT, Breachlock, CAPSLOCK, ContextSpace Solutions, CyberHive, InsurTechnix, ITsMine, MIRACL Technologies, Nanotego, RedHunt Labs, The CyberFish, TrustStamp, VerifiedWhiteList, VU Security, Zamna Technologies and ZeroGuard.