The innovation company Plexal has teamed up with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) to launch its latest cyber accelerator programme Cyber Runway 3.0.
Cyber Runway is the largest cyber accelerator in the UK and has supported seven cohorts comprising over 170 companies over the past two years.
Plexal was founded in 2017 and is owned by clients of specialist real estate investment advisory company Delancey.
Cyber Runway is developed as a growth platform for UK startups, helping them to Launch, Grow and Scale their companies, which Plexal designed to address major challenges facing the UK’s cyber sector.
These include everything from increasing entrepreneurial representation within the innovation ecosystem to navigating the economic climate to creating greater connectivity between regional, national and international networks.
The 2023 UK Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis has found £302m was raised by cyber security firms across 76 deals in 2022 – down from £1bn in 2021 – and the accelerator will help founders to understand this funding landscape.
Cyber-attacks are a continuing problem businesses face, as seen in the 2023 Cyber Security Breaches Survey
There have been two Cyber Runway accelerators, following a 2021 launch and a second outing in 2022.
With the introduction of Cyber Runway 3.0, the accelerator will expand support entrepreneurs and startups across four streams:
- Launch: A bootcamp to help budding entrepreneurs, graduates and spinouts get their business off the ground and build connections.
- Grow: A programme for cyber startups and SMEs to nail their product-market fit, get commercialisation support and lay the foundations for growth.
- Scale: A programme helping scaleups and high-growth startups blast away any barriers to growth nationally and around the world.
- Ignite: A programme for exceptional founders of cyber security startups to help them develop as leaders and scale their businesses.
Cyber Runway will also connect entrepreneurs and startups with investors, security leaders and the government to support them in developing technologies which address a broad commercial need and therefore have potential to scale and help them achieve a closer product-market fit.
Plexal is also keen to hear from security leaders, investors and experienced founders who want to mentor entrepreneurs going through the next accelerator.
Saj Huq, CCO and head of innovation at Plexal, said: “It’s a real honour to have again won the trust of our partner, the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, to clear Cyber Runway for take-off through 3.0. This year’s accelerator will enable the vast array of cyber founders in the UK to have more opportunities to develop in a way that best suits their individual needs.”
Minister for Cyber, AI, and Intellectual Property, Viscount Camrose, said: “Whether it’s budding entrepreneurs, a business laying the foundations for growth, or startup founders wanting to develop as a leader, the third iteration of Cyber Runway will offer the most comprehensive support package yet for our peerless cyber security startups community.
“In just two years, the scheme has helped more than 170 companies and even produced Forbes 30-under-30 winners. It will now continue its mission to support our brightest minds as they fuel and safeguard innovation across our economy.”
Cyber Runway graduate, Nadia Kadhim (pictured), CEO at Naq Cyber, the cyber security and data compliance solution, was recently named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe 2023 list.
She said: “What I found very, very powerful was the coaching on imposter syndrome. Six months ago, I felt very uncertain but now I’ve become a genuine leader.”