Accelerator Backed By UK Spy Agency Selects First Startups

GCHQ Startup Accelerator

The U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the intelligence and security organization that provides signals intelligence and information assurance to the British government and armed forces, announced the first cohort of its own startup incubator.

Them GCHQ Cyber Accelerator initiative has selected seven startups that will participate in the three-month accelerator program, TechCrunch reported.

The seven teams selected for the first cohort are: counterintelligence company CounterCraft; early warning cyberattack system Cyberowl; Cybersmart, an automated platform for cybersecurity implementation, certification and compliance; collective intelligence platform FutureScaper; a Banking API intrusion detection system called Spherical Defence; AI-powered intelligence platform StatusToday; and Verimuchme, a secure digital wallet and exchange.

Countercraft co-founder and CMO Dan Brett told TechCrunch that his team is hoping to strengthen its network and connections in the U.K. as a result of the program.

“We are designing a defensive product to allow large organizations to defend themselves from the most advanced attacks available, and where better to get advice about what the companies could be facing than from GCHQ. Our aim is to provide a new type of defensive layer that improves security for companies in the UK and globally. We believe this will be a great step in making our product better,” Brett added.

The accelerator is part of an ongoing strategy within the U.K. to drive cybersecurity ideas and innovation domestically, TechCrunch noted. The program is based at the new Cheltenham Cyber Innovation Centre, which will provide participating startups with access to a range of agency staff and expertise — to, as the government explained, “allow them to expand capability, improve ideas and devise cutting-edge products to outpace current and emerging threats.”