GCHQ Completes Security Accelerator Programme

An aerial image of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

GCHQ is one of the three UK Intelligence Agencies and forms a crucial part of the UK’s National Intelligence and Security machinery.

The National Security Strategy sets out the challenges of a changing and uncertain world and places cyber attack in the top tier of risks, alongside international terrorism, a major industrial accident or natural disaster, and international military crisis. 

GCHQ, in concert with Security Service (also known as MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6) play a key role across all of these areas and more. Their work drives the UK Government’s response to world events and enables strategic goals overseas.

The first-ever GCHQ-backed accelerator programme for cyber security start-ups concludes today. Seven cyber security start-ups joined the unique GCHQ Cyber Accelerator – a partnership between GCHQ, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and Wayra UK.

There, the companies received support to help them scale all aspects of their businesses, including high-quality mentoring and business services, office space, and access to GCHQ and Telefónica’s world-class personnel and technical expertise.

That support has helped the companies develop substantially, with successes including the securing of contracts with government agencies and projects with major corporations, as well as developing their products and embarking on funding rounds.

The entrepreneurs will today celebrate the end of the programme by pitching their start-ups to an audience of stakeholders and leading investors at a Demo Day in Cheltenham.

At the event, GCHQ, DCMS and Wayra UK will say that later in 2017, they intend to issue a new call for cyber start-ups to join the Accelerator for an extended version of the programme. Further details of the new call will be revealed in due course.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock MP said, “Our recent Digital Strategy set out our ambition to create a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone and makes the UK the safest place to do business online.

“The Cyber Accelerator is helping to deliver this aim by supporting entrepreneurs and innovators as they turn great ideas into cyber security products and services, and I congratulate all those who have taken part in the first programme and contributed to its success.”

Gary Stewart, Director at Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ (UK), commented, “This has been a textbook exercise in how to accelerate companies extremely quickly. We’ve been able to take our strengths and marry them to GCHQ’s world-leading cyber expertise, creating a perfect petri dish for these start-ups to scale. I’m immensely proud that we’ve been able to realise the promise of this collaboration, and enthused about moving the partnership forward in an even bigger and better way through a new call for cyber start-ups to join the programme.”