The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and innovation hub Plexal have selected five startups to join their NCSC for Startups initiative.
Designed as a collaborative accelerator programme to help startups develop, adapt or pilot solutions to mission-critical cyber security challenges facing the UK, the latest cohort has a particular focus on education and building digital skills.
The startups include ThinkCyber, which helps people to protect themselves against cyber threats through building secure habits; Fezzant, which creates immersive, diverse and inclusive experiences to educate people about cyber security; and Ethicronics, a Cambridge University spinout that has developed a hardware solution that fights against counterfeit, compromised and recycled electronics.
The two remaining firms include Visible, a startup empowering people to see their digital self, control the underlying data and change how others perceive them; and PSM Cyber, which equips sports professionals and members of the armed forces with digital skills to help bridge the cyber skills gap.
Startups involved in the programme will be given access to technical experts and incident response teams from the NCSC, which is part of British signal intelligence agency GCHQ, and benefit further from workshops on marketing, funding and business development designed to help them break into the UK’s cyber security market.
“Tackling the UK’s most important cyber security challenges requires both innovation and collaboration to safeguard our digital prosperity now and in the future,” said Chris Ensor, NCSC deputy director for cyber growth.
“I’m delighted five new companies are joining our NCSC for Startups programme, giving innovators a unique opportunity to test ideas and gain expertise so we can find new ways to keep the UK safe online.”
Saj Hug, chief commercial officer and head of innovation at Plexal, added: “Cyber threats are now all pervasive and are affecting every corner of society. We’re excited to welcome more startups into the NCSC For Startups programme to help them develop, adapt and pilot solutions.
“Technology solutions should never be developed in isolation. With NCSC for Startups, we’re giving startups unparalleled access to experts from within the government as well as industry to shape how cyber products are developed.”
Launched in 2017 as the NCSC Cyber Accelerator, the initiative was rebranded to NCSC for Startups in August 2021. While the previous iteration was specifically geared around helping startups to scale, NCSC for Startups is open to startups at all stages of maturity. The NCSC has said since its initial launch in 2017, 57 companies have been through the programme.
Plexal has separately selected 35 startups to join the second cohort of its Cyber Runway accelerator, which are working to solve a range of pressing challenges for the cyber security sector, ransomware, zero-day attacks, secure authentication, incident response and generally improving cyber awareness.
Plexal is also involved in Greater Manchester’s Digital Security Hub (DiSH), which opened applications in August 2022 and is designed to support the growth of early-stage startups throughout the North West of England.