The accelerator’s aim is to operate as part of a government-funded cyber innovation centre, helping keep the UK secure online through innovation from cyber security startups.
In being selected, each of the cyber security startups will receive access to technological and security experts, networks, office space and mentoring.
MP Matt Hancock, who is also minister of state for digital and culture, described GCHQ Cyber Accelerator as an “important step” in delivering the government’s National Cyber Security Strategy. “The accelerator will help UK entrepreneurs create cutting-edge technology to better protect the nation from cyber attacks and make going online safe for all,” he added.
Based in Gloucestershire, the accelerator for cyber security startups will sit alongside the Cheltenham Innovation Centre, the first of two sites set up by the government’s National Cyber Security Programme. The other will be located in London, opening later in 2017.
Of the cyber security startups selected, CounterCraft is a counterintelligence company protecting large companies by using a deception platform, while FutureScaper is a collective intelligence platform that provides data visualisations to make sense of complex, uncertain or volatile issues.
Gary Stewart, director at Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ (UK), said: “By bringing together GCHQ’s world-class security expertise and pairing it with Wayra’s track record in accelerating businesses, we will give entrepreneurs with exceptional cyber security ideas the opportunity to develop them in the best possible environment.
“This accelerator could have a huge impact on the global cyber security sector, generating the next generation of systems that will make everyone’s online experience safer and more secure.”
Startup accelerator Wayra UK has been around since 2012 and has reportedly helped more than 140 British and Irish startups raise $100m in third-party funding. Backed up by telecoms business Telefonica, it provides coaches, mentors, investment and office space.
The UK cyber security sector is projected to be worth £22bn and currently contributes approximately £2bn a year in exports to the British economy. The government is make a £1.9bn “transformative investment” in the area.
Each of the seven cyber security startups selected will now begin a three-month development programme, with access to GCHQ’s personal and technical expertise provided.