CyLon Launches to Promote UK Security Startups

Europe’s first cybersecurity startup accelerator launched in London this week with a mission to put the UK at the center of global innovation in information security.

CyLon, short for Cyber London, will function as a not-for-profit, set up by a team of entrepreneurs, VCs and cybersecurity experts.

It will receive financial and other support from its main co-founders: VC firm Amadeus Capital Partners; global investment manager Winton; and international law firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Fried Frank.

Entrepreneurial applicants are invited to submit business ideas for the first 12-week program starting in Q2 this year. Those who are chosen will be given a “living allowance” of £5000 per person, and because it’s a not-for-profit, the financial backers will not take any equity in the resulting businesses.

The CyLon accelerator program will be managed day-to-day by Ignite, described as the UK’s “leading seed accelerator,” with headquarters in a 4000sq/ft facility provided by Winton in Hammersmith.

A spokesperson for digital business initiative techUK welcomed the launch.

“The UK has a rich and diverse cyber security sector with many innovative companies being started every year,” they told Infosecurity by email.

“Cyber London will complement the important work of the Cyber Growth Partnership (CGP), a task force of government, industry and academia working to grow the UK's cyber security sector, increase cyber security exports and increase the talent pool available to cyber companies in the UK.”

Alex van Someren of Amadeus Capital Partners claimed the goal of CyLon is to make the best UK cybersecurity innovations globally successful and tap an estimated worldwide market worth $120 billion by 2017.

“We have a common vision that the UK is rich in both innovation and entrepreneurship but, until now, cyber entrepreneurs have lacked an environment in which to interact and get the support they need to realize their full business potential in the global marketplace,” he added in a statement.

Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, welcomed the launch, claiming it would help the government’s aim to make the UK one of the safest places in the world to do business online.

"UK entrepreneurs have a significant role to play in helping to deliver better security for our citizens, our businesses, our government and our national infrastructure whilst at the same time creating jobs, generating exports, and contributing to the growth of the UK economy,” he added in a statement.

However, his comments are slightly at odds with those of prime minister David Cameron, who appeared to suggest recently that he would ban any communications services using strong encryption which could not be accessed by the security services.

The remarks were widely criticized by cybersecurity experts, who claimed the plans would not only be unworkable but would stifle innovation in the information security space.

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