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Developing the UK’s next generation of cyber security solutions. Applications for the next cohort are now open!
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What is the NCSC Cyber Accelerator?

The NCSC Cyber Accelerator is a collaboration between the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC, part of GCHQ) , and Wayra UK (Telefónica's Open Innovation Hub).


What sort of companies is the NCSC Cyber Accelerator looking for?

As part of its mission to make the UK the safest place to live and work online, the NCSC is looking for start-ups who:

  • offer next-generation cyber security solutions that are better and cheaper than existing products
  • are using innovative techniques to solve a known problem
  • that can make a difference to the NCSC right now
  • have an active UK presence including a UK registered business

The solutions could be for any customers, from individuals at home to the world’s biggest companies, but must address one of the NCSC challenge themes outlined below.



What does the NCSC Cyber Accelerator programme involve?

The NCSC Cyber Accelerator is run in partnership with Wayra UK, combining the NCSC’s technical expertise and Wayra’s commercial expertise to the World’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The programmes will run for 10 weeks each in Cheltenham and meet in person three days a week.  

 In order to make best use of working with the NCSC and GCHQ, the programme is based in Cheltenham and a founder of each company is expected to attend each day. To have a national reach but a Cheltenham-focus, the programme offers a £9,000 stipend to cover travel costs.

Each cohort selects up to 10 companies, which range in their maturity from early stage angel investment to securing initial seed investment.

Through a combination of technical and commercial mentorship and introductions, the programme works with start-ups to:

  • Investigate potential partnership opportunities with NCSC
  • Develop and communicate their core product or service
  • Facilitate introductions to companies and investors
  • Create commercial growth opportunities


NCSC Cyber Accelerator Programme in 2020/2021

In order for start-ups to derive as much from the programme as possible, it has been established as a physical and in-person programme and we plan to maintain this key characteristic.

We intend to commence the first cohort, in person, in late July 2020, however we will confirm exact dates once there is more clarity on travel and lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19.

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis and will be filling up spaces on upcoming cohorts on a first come first served rule for those start-ups who are successful at a selection day. 

Start-ups who have applied and progress to a selection day will need to attend (either virtually or in person) an NCSC selection day on one of the dates below. We will be scouting on a rolling basis for the three programme cohorts across the year. We have up to 10 spaces on each cohort.

Assessment Dates
  • May 21st 2020
  • June 18th 2020
  • July 9th 2020
  • August 20th 2020
  • September 9th 2020
  • October 8th 2020
  • November 12th 2020
  • December 8th 2020
  • January 7th 2021

What we offer

£9,000 grant (to cover the costs of travelling to Cheltenham)

Wayra's Investor Network

Wayra's Acceleration Services

Access to a dedicated accelerator facility in Cheltenham

Access to NCSC cyber experts

Data

IMPORT TRANSFORMATION AND VERIFICATION
BEYOND ANTI-VIRUS
DATA SHARING
AUDIT AND MONITORING
ENTERPRISE DATA DISCOVERY
DATA PROCESSING
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People


AUTHENTICATION
OUT-OF-THE-BOX SOLUTIONS FOR THE VULNERABLE
NOT ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
GETTING THE BOARD TO ‘GET IT’
MAKING IT EASIER TO BE SECURE
IDENTIFYING ‘THE GOOD’
GDPR READINESS
IMPROVED TAKE UP OF CYBER ESSENTIALS AND INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS

Start-ups

Technology


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Case Study

One of last year’s cohort in the Cyber Accelerator programme is Trust Stamp, which uses artificial Intelligence, deep neural networks and biometrics to create unique digital identities, bypassing the need for usernames and passwords.

An application developed by the company records facial biometrics, irreversibly converts them into a 'non-PII hash' and matches them with multiple sources, such as public records or social media to verify a person’s identity. Trust or preference data can be connected to the hash to facilitate transactions, whether by commercial or governmental agencies. Mastercard has already invested in the enterprise.

The company was co-founded in 2016 by CEO Gareth Genner, who said: “Biometrics are now ubiquitous as a method of authenticating identity, but they should not be stored. Our application allows a mixture of biometrics to be used but protects against the common vulnerabilities of fake identities, phishing and online security breaches by storing a non-PII hash that is matched using probabilistic Artificial Intelligence.

“Our initial work with Mastercard has been focused on enhancing data security in environments with low connectivity, such as parts of Africa, where we can create protected legal identities that can help communities when they want to register for, say vaccination programmes.

“Our company ethos is to create a world where secure, trusted identity is a universal human right, empowering opportunity and access for all.”

Gareth adds that the company’s participation in the Cyber Accelerator programme brought the benefit of “access to a huge amount of expertise from the NCSC that was simply not available anywhere else in the world.

“Through our links with NCSC we now have eleven staff gaining from that expertise in Cheltenham, and means that this year we are creating 20 new jobs in the area.”

Themes

Theme 1: Making it easier to be secure
Theme 2: Understand and Defend
Theme 3: Detect and Respond

Areas of Interest

Theme One
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FAQs

WHAT IS NCSC's ROLE IN THE PROGRAMME?
WHERE WILL THE PROGRAMME BE BASED?
WHY IS WAYRA UK SUITED TO HELP NCSC?
WHO ARE NCSC AND WHAT IS THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH GCHQ?
HOW WAS WAYRA SELECTED?
WHO IS WAYRA?
AFTER THE PROGRAMME, WILL THE COMPANIES BE INVITED TO WORK WITH NCSC?
WHAT DOES THE WAYRA PROGRAMME OFFER?
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE PROGRAMME ENDS?
WHAT FACILITIES ARE MADE AVAILABLE WITHIN THE ACCELERATOR FACILITY?
ARE THE COMPANIES EFFECTIVELY WORKING FOR NCSC/GCHQ?
ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS ON THE TYPE OF COMPANIES WHO CAN APPLY?
ARE THE COMPANIES REQUIRED TO LICENCE OR TRANSFER ANY OF THEIR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY TO NCSC OR WAYRA?
WILL NCSC / WAYRA TAKE ANY EQUITY IN THE COMPANIES?
WHAT FUNDING DO COMPANIES RECEIVE THROUGH THE PROGRAMME?
HOW LONG IS THE PROGRAMME?
HOW ARE THE COMPANIES CHOSEN?
WHY IS NCSC RUNNING AN ACCELERATOR?