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Government Start-up Support Creates a "Very Exciting Time"

Government plans to support UK security start-ups have been welcomed as a crucial support mechanism for UK industry.

In an email to Infosecurity, James Chappell CTO and co-founder of UK security firm Digital Shadows, who formed in 2011, called the move “another important support mechanism to help develop early stage companies.”

He said: “It is valuable in that it creates an environment via the Cyber London accelerator to bring good ideas closer to the VCs that would fund them. Counsel via CSIT will provide impartial advice and technical rigour to ideas which will help shape ideas before they come to market and are put in front of the VCs.

“More broadly it’s another example of the UK government getting behind cybersecurity start-ups, this in combination with measures announced in George Osborne’s speech before Christmas, makes this a very exciting time for UK cybersecurity start-ups.”

This week, the UK government announced a £250,000 Early Stage Accelerator Programme to help start-ups in the space get advice, support and funding to develop their products and services and bring them to market. It will be run by Cyber London—described as “Europe's first cybersecurity accelerator and incubator space”—and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast.

Chappell claimed that the UK has a brilliant culture of curious minds and some of the best academic talent in the world in this topic area, and with the right environment with the right support and motivation, there is a real opportunity to build the next generation of cyber start-ups.

“For companies that have genuinely great ideas, the VC funding is there to support them,” he said. “In our experience, whilst the finance from VCs is of course vital, what is just as invaluable is the contacts, counsel and strategic guidance they provide to help us grow our business. We see the government’s role as to provide the right regulatory and business environment to help early stage companies grow and flourish rather than to provide funding.”

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