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Startup Weekly: GCHQ’s cyber accelerator calls for entries, 12 tech startups join Wales’ Innovation Point and more


Here’s your weekly roundup of news about startup competitions, awards, accelerators, and any other exciting developments in the UK tech sector.

GCHQ’s cybersecurity accelerator

Applications are now open for GCHQ’s Cyber Accelerator.

The programme will give startups access to GCHQ, including the National Cyber Security Centre, in order to help them expand their capability, improve their ideas, and devise cutting-edge products.

The programme will be delivered by Wayra UK, part of Telefónica, will specifically help new firms turn their ideas into commercial products and services.

The accelerator programme is a collaboration between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), GCHQ, the NCSC, and Wayra UK. Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said:

“We are working hard to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business and the safest place to be online.

“The GCHQ Cyber Accelerator is a vital part of this work and has already helped some of the most innovative cyber security startups develop cutting-edge new products and services.

“I’m pleased to announce the programme is being extended and encourage the nation’s talented entrepreneurs to apply.”

A Welsh tech cohort

Innovation Point has unveiled the names of the twelve technology startups and scaleups joining its accelerator programme.

The New Digital Dozen are:

  • Open Genius – the team behind iMindMap and DropTask. They create intuitive technologies that seek to facilitate and enhance creativity, innovation and productivity.
  • Properr – develop integrated technology solutions for the property industry.Its flagship product ‘Track My Move’ seeks to simplify how people buy residential property, reduces fall throughs and radically improves processes.
  • Disberse – a fund management platform built for the global development sector.
  • DashHound – connects users social accounts, allowing them to track and purchase products used by their favourite beauty influencers via a bespoke online dashboard.
  • Prism Technology – claim to offer a clear, concise and organised approach to delivering business requirements.
  • Simply Do Ideas – provide a quick, simple way for people to build and test their business ideas.
  • Talkative – allows users to convert website visitors into paying customers, using voice, video, chat and cobrowsing.
  • Geolang – the software development company specialising in the cybersecurity and business resilience market.
  • Do-IT Solutions – a specialist IT company providing a modular accessible online assessment and monitoring system.
  • University Cribs – strives to make house-hunting a stress-free task for students.
  • Zone Art Networks – a unique solution to the problem of locating users and objects in space-time using its Follow Spot solution, requiring only a single access point.
  • Codeherent – its mission is to enable organisations to quickly and easily develop their ideas into palpable business outcomes.

Colin Batten, head of partnerships and Digital Dozen accelerator at Innovation Point, commented:

“We’ve worked with successful accelerators across the UK, Europe and the US to gauge what does – and doesn’t – work, whilst speaking to companies throughout Wales about the support and connections they feel would best empower them to take their business to the next level.”

Could you be a Northern Star?

Tech North is on the lookout for the top 10 most promising startups in the North.

The competition is open to early-stage technology companies based in the North, which have raised less than £2m in equity funding.

AI, gaming and VR companies – underrepresented in previous years – are particularly encouraged to apply.

Richard Gregory, director of Tech North, said: “The North has deep reserves of tech talent and that is why we have made our flagship Northern Stars competition even bigger and better than ever.

“Previous Northern Stars winners have now achieved so much and all will tell you that the assistance and recognition that comes with winning this competition are really useful in helping push their businesses to the next stage. Now we want to identify more early-stage startups from the North’s great cities and towns and we know there’s some great talent out there just waiting to be discovered.”

The 10 winners will receive pitch training, a PR campaign, media training as well as tickets to various industry conferences and events.

To apply, fill in this application form:

EY’s Fast Growth Platform

EY has launched the EY Fast Growth Platform, a new initiative catering for technology scaleups.

The Platform is a three-tier programme that provides businesses with tailored startup, scaleup, and global support as well as access to EY’s global network of professionals and clients.

Richard Goold, EY fast growth leader, said: “The European technology ecosystem is more vibrant than ever, with hubs developing that lead global innovation in areas such as FinTech and Artificial Intelligence. As a result there are large numbers of fantastic businesses growing up across the region.

“Through our World Entrepreneur of the Year programme we have been helping to develop this innovation network for over thirty years. We will continue to strengthen our role within the ecosystem with our Fast Growth Platform which will support startup businesses at all stages by providing tailored assurance, tax, legal, advisory and corporate finance support.”

An award for energy tech

Cambridge-based energy tech developer Geo has received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation at a reception held at Buckingham Palace.

The Award was picked up by Patrick Caiger-Smith, CEO at geo in recognition of the firm’s technical and business achievements.

“It was an honour to be formally presented with the prestigious Queen’s Award today, and I was delighted to receive it on behalf of the whole company,” said Caiger-Smith.

“Our talented team has designed a range of products that are helping to lower costs and energy usage in the home, but the award was specifically for the first of these solutions, the Solo in-home energy monitor. It is recognition for years of hard work, commitment and talent and we are very proud.”