First cyber security start-ups selected for GCHQ Cyber Accelerator


· Seven start-ups, focusing on online security issues and threats, will join the new GCHQ Cyber Accelerator, powered by Wayra UK

· The accelerator, officially launched today, will be part of a world-class Government-funded cyber innovation centre that will help keep the UK secure online

· Each start-up will receive benefits including access to technological and security expertise, networks, office space and mentoring

· Accelerator will help UK take the lead in producing the next generation of cyber security systems, boosting the country’s tech sector

Seven cyber security start-ups have been selected to join the new GCHQ Cyber Accelerator, powered by Wayra UK.

The accelerator, part of the Government’s new Cheltenham Cyber Innovation Centre, will help keep the UK secure online, enable companies to produce the next generation of cyber security systems, and boost the country’s £22 billion cyber security sector, which currently contributes around £2 billion a year in exports to the UK economy.

The accelerator is a partnership between GCHQ, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and Wayra UK, the leading UK corporate accelerator that is part of the global Telefónica Open Future_ network.

Companies joining the accelerator will now begin a three-month development programme, during which they will receive benefits to help them scale all aspects of their businesses, including mentoring, contact with an extensive investor network, office space within the new GCHQ Cyber Accelerator, and access to GCHQ’s world-class personnel and technical expertise.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock MP said:

“I congratulate all the companies selected to join the new accelerator facility which is now open for business. This is an important step in delivering our National Cyber Security Strategy, and supported by £1.9bn transformative investment in cyber security. Based in Cheltenham, the accelerator will help UK entrepreneurs create cutting-edge technology to better protect the nation from cyber attacks and make going online safer for all.”

Gary Stewart, Director at Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ (UK), said:

“The opening of the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator is a significant step forward for the UK’s ambitions to be a global hub for cyber talent. By bringing together GCHQ’s world-class security expertise and pairing it with Wayra’s track record in accelerating businesses, we will give entrepreneurs with exceptional cyber security ideas the opportunity to develop them in the best possible environment. This accelerator could have a huge impact on the global cyber security sector, generating the next generation of systems that will make everyone’s online experience safer and more secure.”

The new accelerator forms part of the Cheltenham Innovation Centre, the first of two world-leading innovation centres to be created as part of the Government’s National Cyber Security Programme. A second innovation centre will open in London later this year. DCMS is contributing up to £50m over the next five years to deliver the two innovation centres.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is the UK’s authority on cyber security.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Security Skills and Growth said:

“The accelerator will combine GCHQ’s understanding of the challenges and deep expertise in cyber security with innovative and cutting edge companies. It will help to develop the next generation of security technologies needed to keep us all safe in cyber space.”

The companies selected to join the programme include:

· CounterCraft, a counterintelligence company, protects large organisations with a cybersecurity deception platform, fooling their adversaries with decoy computers, false data and fake identities

· Cyberowl, a breakthrough early-warning system for cyber attacks, incorporating advanced security analytics and heuristic methods

· Cybersmart, a platform that automates implementation, certification and compliance with cyber security standards

· FutureScaper, a collective intelligence platform that provides data visualisations in order to make sense of complex, uncertain, or volatile issues

· Spherical Defence, a Banking API intrusion detection system that uses deep learning to detect hacking attempts by establishing a baseline of normal communication

· StatusToday provides an AI-powered intelligence platform to understand human behavior in the workplace, boosting security against insider attacks and detecting inadvertent mistakes

· Verimuchme, a digital wallet and exchange platform to secure, verify and re-use personal information. Through ID-based crypto-technology, individuals and enterprises are linked to personal information that can be shared digitally over and over again


Wayra UK

Wayra UK is part of Telefónica Open Future_, the open programme that integrates the different initiatives of the whole Telefónica Group related to entrepreneurship and innovation.

Wayra UK gives direct funding, acceleration and pre-acceleration services (such as co-working space, connectivity services, mentoring, access to Wayra UK’s network and knowhow, training in entrepreneurship and business skills) to selected start-ups. Since its launch in 2012, Wayra UK start-ups have raised over $110m in third-party investment.

Wayra UK has partnered with some of the world’s leading organisations to offer a number of verticals that help generate growth, create positive societal impact and fuel innovation across a number of industries. These include Velocity Health with Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited (MSD), a global healthcare company transforming healthcare; and ASOS – one of the world’s leading fashion destinations for 20-somethings – which is developing technology that can make the ASOS experience even better for its 11 million customers around the world.

Wayra UK also works alongside local and regional partners to reinvigorate entrepreneurial ecosystems, energise local economies and democratise entrepreneurship. Start-ups in the Greater Manchester area have the opportunity of joining Open Future_ North, powered by Wayra UK, which is a new digital enterprise hub and pre-acceleration programme supported by the Oldham Council. In Birmingham, start-ups have access to a 2,500 square foot space within Open Future_ Midlands, powered by Wayra UK, at the Serendip® Smart City Incubator.

Telefónica Open Future_

Telefónica Open Future_ is a global programme designed to connect entrepreneurs, startups, investors and public and private partners around the world to capture innovation and business opportunities. Its goal is to support talent at all stages of growth through a comprehensive model for acceleration that is designed to connect talent with organisations, investors and companies.

The programme incorporates all the Telefónica Group’s open innovation, entrepreneurship and investment initiatives (Think Big, Talentum, Crowdworking, Wayra, Amérigo and TelefónicaVentures) through a global network that is open to participation by external partners that wish to develop their own entrepreneurial and investment strategies. To date, more than 49,000 proposals have been analysed, with a portfolio of 1,360 startups; it is present in 17 countries and a total of 384 million euros has been committed to investment by Telefónica and its partners.


Government Communications Headquarters is one of the three UK Intelligence and Security Agencies, along with MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). GCHQ works to protect the UK and its citizens from a range of threats to national security, including terrorism, serious and organised crime, and cyber-attack.

From October 2016, the new National Cyber Security Centre will lead the UK’s national cyber security effort. The NCSC will simplify the current cyber security landscape by bringing together CESG, CPNI, CCA and CERT UK and establish a ‘one stop shop’ for cyber security in the UK. It will:
• Reduce the cyber security risk to the UK;
• Respond effectively to cyber incidents;
• Understand the UK’s cyber security environment, sharing knowledge, addressing systemic vulnerabilities; and
• Nurture the UK’s cyber security capability, providing leadership on key national cyber security issues.

Norval Scott, Head of PR and Communications, Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ (UK): e: m: +44 (0) 7860 760 841


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