CyLon To Help Startups Develop UK’s Cyber Defences

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

The scheme aims to develop the UK into Europe’s hub for cyber security startups

A new scheme called CyLon aims to help young companies become the next generation of cyber security specialists.

CyLon is short for Cyber London has been described as Europe’s first cyber security accelerator, headquartered in London. It aims to help early-stage businesses develop information security technology products and services.

Startup Accelerator

The intention of the scheme to help the UK become Europe’s centre for cyber security startups, comes amid a backdrop of ever increasing cyber threats.

Indeed, GCHQ recently revealed that eight out of 10 of the UK’s largest businesses have been at the receiving end of a major cyber attack, which has cost the UK economy millions of pounds.

The first CyLon programme will begin in April and will last 13 weeks. Ten teams will receive £5,000 in cost-of-living allowances while taking part. The CyLon is structured as a not-for-profit business, and will not take equity stakes in any of the startups. Interest entrepreneurs can apply here.

CyLon has been funded by venture capital investor Amadeus Capital Partners, global investment manager Winton, and international law firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Fried Frank. It is managed by the seed accelerator programme Ignite.

Maude“I warmly welcome the CyLon initiative,” said Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office. “As part of our long-term economic plan we want to make Britain 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,” said Alex van Someren of Amadeus Capital Partners.

“The goal of CyLon is to help make the finest UK cyber security innovations globally successful,” said CEO of Winton, David Harding. “It has been estimated that the UK market alone for cyber security will be worth over £3.4bn in 2017, with the global market reaching $120 billion. We’re providing a supportive environment in which innovators can share entrepreneurial experience to accelerate their business success.

“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 realise their full business potential in the global marketplace,” he added.

Needed Skills

With the explosion of hacking, there is also a real need for people with the relevant cyber security skills.

This was evidenced when in October 2013, Lieutenant Colonel Michael White, the head of the military’s Joint Cyber Reserve Unit, said that if black hats (i.e. convicted hackers) pass the background checks, they could join the military.

For those who don’t fancy working for the army, the police national cyber crime unit (NCCU) is also recruiting.

And in August last year, GCHQ launched a new nationwide competition called Astute Explorer, designed to help discover people with the necessary cyber defence talent.

The competition was developed in partnership with Cyber Security Challenge UK, a government-sponsored organisation which has been running similar competitions since 2011.

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