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UK cyber entrepreneurs to meet world's experts in Silicon Valley

Seven companies from the NCSC's Cyber Accelerator programme to pitch to prospective clients at the IT security conference.


An exciting mix of innovative start-ups are flying the flag for the UK at a prestigious conference on cyber security in California’s Silicon Valley which opens today (24 February).

The seven companies are supported by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) under its Cyber Accelerator programme, which supports companies creating new products for the UK’s cyber security industry.

The companies have come up with a range of innovations to improve online safety, from an authentication system which formats a user’s favourite pictures instead of passwords (Pixelpin), to a platform which uses artificial intelligence to protect businesses from security breaches (

At the four-day RSA conference in San Francisco, the UK businesses are participating in the programme will join their international counterparts to hear about the latest developments in cyber security and will be pitching at the Telefonica ElevenPaths booth to prospective clients.

The RSA Conference is a major IT security gathering which attracts specialists from around the globe. The San Francisco event is being attended the NCSC’s CEO Ciaran Martin.

NCSC Chief Executive Ciaran Martin, said:

“These businesses have created fantastic cyber security products with the potential to make a real difference across a range of areas.

“The quality of their innovations show the value of the Cyber Accelerator programme and I have no doubt their experience at the RSA Conference will help them on their journey.”

Part of the UK government’s £1.9bn National Cyber Security Strategy, the Accelerator scheme is a collaboration between the NCSC, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Wayra UK, part of the Telefónica global business network.

Cyber security minister Matt Warman, said:

"The Cyber Accelerator programme plays a vital role in helping startups develop cutting-edge cyber security products, so it’s great to see the current cohort of businesses showcasing their services on the global stage.

“Through our National Cyber Security Strategy we are committed to making the UK the safest place in the world to be online and are investing £1.9bn to make sure we lead the way.”

Alongside the RSA event our start-ups will be attending a Steve Blank “Lean launchpad” lecture at Standford University before meeting with Steve (considered to be one of the Godfathers of Silicon Valley) for personal coaching and feedback, at his Pescadero Ranch.

During the trip, the Cohort will be pitching to Sierra VC, Palo Alto Networks and ForgePoint Ventures as well as attending a private session with Julio Casal, startup turned serial entrepreneur and joining private networking events with Paladin Group and ElevenPaths.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Growth, said:

“Cyber Accelerator has proven to be a great success, and previous companies involved are already moving forward to deliver real-world solutions, bringing new ideas to the cyber security market.

“The aim of the Accelerator programme is to support those with pioneering ideas which in turn encourages new skills, jobs and market growth.”

The last three rounds of the Accelerator programme have between them raised £35million in private funding for tech projects which have flourished since being mentored by the NCSC and Wayra.

Combining the NCSC’s technical expertise and Wayra’s commercial experience, the Accelerator scheme selects up to ten new companies each cycle for a nine-month programme based in Cheltenham.

The seven companies who will be at the conference are: TrustStamp, Ohalo, Pixelpin, Secure Schools, The CyberFish Company, fraud.Net and Keybox.

Case Study

One of the enterprises in this year’s cohort is Secure Schools, which was launched last year by IT consultant Paul Alberry, 28, who perceived a gap in the market for a product to give cyber protection to schools in the UK.

He was aware that although school staff are increasingly reliant on technology many did not have an internal security team to protect sensitive information relating to their pupils, parents and staff. “With increased reliance comes increased risk,” said Paul. “But while schools face the same cyber security threats as many other organisations, they often do not have the luxury of an IT team to protect their data.” Paul set up Secure Schools to respond to these issues by developing an online tool that addresses three areas of cyber security: securing a school’s tech systems; promoting awareness training, and giving assurance to the systems’ users.

Secure Schools, which now has a customer base of 14 schools in the North of England, was selected as one of the seven cyber security start-ups to join the fourth cohort of the Cyber Accelerator programme, securing inclusion after a rigorous selection process for which some 200 fledgling enterprises applied.

Adds Paul, who is the firm’s CEO: “The access to the formidable expertise of the NCSC and Wayra will add enormous capability and value to our product. It’s a huge step forward in our mission to enable and empower schools to take action on the government’s cyber security guidance. “We are already very proud of our work in helping schools build cyber resilience. Taking part in the RSA conference will enable us to get to know how schools in America tackle the problem, and will be an invaluable experience for us as a growing enterprise.”


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