CSIT Labs, an incubator programme for cyber-security startups which provides engineering resource, has launched a call for applications to its second cohort.
The incubator is based at Queen's University Belfast's Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), the UK's national Innovation and Knowledge Centre for cyber-security.
Teams will partake in a nine month managed incubator programme which provides up to three man-months of funded engineering development resource, to take ideas and promising research in the field of cyber-security through to investment and market ready stage.
The engineering effort alone represents a £30,000 value to companies at a time when access to cyber-security research and development resources for new ventures is particularly challenging and makes this incubator unique globally.
The recently published UK National Cyber-Security Strategy 2016 to 2021 sets out the government's plan to make Britain secure and resilient in cyber-space. The strategy also outlines how the Government will support the creation of a growing, innovative and thriving cyber-security sector in the UK.
This comes as Cyber-security Ventures predicts worldwide spending on cyber-security products to eclipse US$1 trillion cumulatively for the five year period from 2017 to 2021. The same firm predicts that the global annual cost of cyber-crime will grow from $3 trillion in 2015 to $6 trillion by 2021.
This represents need for novel new cyber-security technologies and solutions and represents a significant market opportunity for UK cyber-security start-ups.
CSIT has established a global reputation as the go to place for cyber-security innovation. The CSIT Labs incubator programme encompasses its successful innovation process and expands it to enable teams from wider UK academia, government organisations and start-up to benefit from its experience, ecosystem and world leading engineering capability.
Five teams graduated from CSIT Labs Cohort 1 including B-Secur, CyberLytic, Liopa, Sirona Technologies and Cognition Video. Of those, three have already secured significant new investments to scale up their companies and drive new international business development.
Speaking at the launch Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the UK National Cyber Security Centre said: "It's great to come to Belfast and see such an impressive array of technical talent and innovation. This could be truly world-leading work in cyber-security. It's a win-win: it should be great for the city and the surrounding area, but it could also play a major role in making the UK the safest place to live and work online. We look forward to continuing to work with CSIT Labs on this exciting agenda."
Alan Foreman, CEO of B-Secur said: “The partnership that we have developed with CSIT has been hugely significant. We have been able to work alongside some of the brightest minds in the UK, as we develop our pioneering ECG biometric technology that will help answer the threat of increasing cyber based activity. The partnership is also opening the door and exposing B-Secur, and our technology, to some of the world's largest organisations determined to counter cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism. We look forward to continue driving this important partnership into 2017 and beyond.”
Louise Cushnahan, innovation programmes manager, CSIT Labs said: “Given the challenge that start-ups have in accessing technical talent we believe that CSIT Labs is a truly unique incubator programme for cyber-security. We already have teams from across the UK expressing interest in applying for Cohort 2 and look forward to growing the pool of indigenous UK cyber-security companies.”