Innovation accelerator Cyber Runway 3.0 launched for UK start-ups

Innovation centre Plexal, alongside the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has announced the third iteration of its accelerator scheme for UK start-ups

Designed and inaugurated in 2021 to address major challenges facing the UK cyber sector, the Cyber Runway programme aims to aid the launch, growth and scaling of start-ups across the country.

The scheme looks to cover areas including increasing entrepreneurial representation within the innovation ecosystem, navigating the economic climate and improving regional, national and international network connectivity.

Four main streams make up the annual initiative:

  • Launch: A  bootcamp dedicated to establishing businesses and building connections.
  • Grow: A programme for cyber start-ups and SMEs to achieve a product-market fit, get commercialisation support and lay the foundations for growth.
  • Scale: A scheme for participants to examine and overcome barriers towards national and global growth.
  • Ignite: A programme to help selected cyber start-up founders bolster their leadership skills and scale their business.

Recruitment for the Launch and Ignite streams began on the 10th May, with both programmes beginning in July.

Meanwhile, applications are open for Grow and Scale, which are set to take place later this year.


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“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,” said Saj Huq, chief commercial officer and head of innovation at Plexal.

“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.

“Our Cyber Runway 2.0 Graduation Conference demonstrated how we’ve developed a virtuous cycle of successful entrepreneurs who have been here before are continuing to support the upcoming founders joining the ecosystem. I’m really excited for that to continue, leading to more prosperity and job creation, as well as enhanced national security – both of which are central to our mission at Plexal.”

Minister for Cyber, AI, and Intellectual Property, Viscount Camrose, commented: “Whether it’s budding entrepreneurs, a business laying the foundations for growth, or start-up 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.”

Mitigating funding, representation and cyber challenges

With recent government research revealing that £302m was raised by cyber security firms across 76 deals in 2022 — down from £1bn in 2021 — the accelerator also aims to help entrepreneurs to better understand and drive value from the current funding landscape.

The need for continued innovation and growth across the cybersecurity space is demonstrated by further government figures showing that businesses suffering cyber attacks are met with an average cost of £1,100 — rising to £4,960 for medium and large companies.

Seven Cyber Runway cohorts comprising over 170 companies have been supported over the past two years, with 52 per cent of start-ups based outside of the South East; 50 per cent led by women; and 43 per cent led by Black and minority ethnic founders.

Entrepreneurs and start-ups interested in applying for the third Cyber Runway accelerator programme can do so here.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.

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