1. What’s the purpose of London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA) cohort programme?
LORCA is the UK’s dedicated space for industry-led cybersecurity innovation. It supports the most promising cybersecurity innovators in scaling and growing solutions to meet the most pressing industry challenges.
LORCA brings together innovators, corporates, investors, academics, and engineers to maximise the commercial potential of great cyber solutions, minimise the barriers to scale and increase speed to market. By 2021, it will have stimulated the growth of at least 72 high-potential companies, grown up to 2,000 jobs, and secured £40m in investment.
2. Who’s involved in delivering LORCA?
LORCA is a partnership between Plexal, Deloitte and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast and funded by Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
Plexal is a technology community built and curated for innovators by innovators. Designed as a ‘mini-city’ based at Here East on the site of London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s, Plexal’s hyper-connected campus combines specialised innovation services with state-of-the-art work and event facilities to help businesses solves the biggest challenges facing society both now and in the future.
Collaboration and commercialisation is at the heart of Plexal’s offering – bringing together entrepreneurs, big business, investors and start-ups to help refine and scale innovations of the 4th industrial revolution. Plexal’s community benefits from a comprehensive programme of events, corporate-backed accelerator programmes and in-house professional services.
Founded by clients of specialist real estate investment advisory company Delancey, Plexal is carefully curating a community of startups working in areas likes fintech, healthtech, cybersecurity the Internet of Things, AR, VR, AI and more.
Plexal was selected by the UK Government to host and run LORCA (the London Office for Rapid Cyber Advancement). Six major accelerator programmes will bring innovators, academics, government stakeholders and corporates together to address cyber security challenges and support the rapid deployment and growth of security businesses.
Deloitte is one of the world’s largest cyber security consultancy firms. Gartner ranked Deloitte #1 globally in security consulting, based on revenue, in its recent market share analysis. Deloitte serves customers in 150 countries with more than 200,000 professionals. Globally there are 3,000 professionals in Cyber Risk Services, which includes 280 based in the UK.
Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NWE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK’s leading professional services firms.
CSIT is the UK’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) for cybersecurity, and the UK’s largest cybersecurity focused university technology research, development and innovation centre. The theme of CSIT’s research roadmap is securing our digital tomorrow. CSIT will continue to lead on the new technologies needed for the seamless integration of electronic security into future smart cities and Internet of Things (IoT), including:
- Quantum-safe cryptographic architectures;
- Malware detection methods that can counteract advanced evasion technologies;
- Securing highly distributed networks for critical infrastructures; and
- AI-enabled security analytics to provide to real-time threat indicators
CSIT brings a unique approach to academic engagement and delivering impact with industry in the UK and further afield. An Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) of companies and strategic government partners plays a key role in defining the research challenges undertaken by CSIT, whilst a cadre of industrially experienced engineers help accelerate innovation to market. This creates collaborative opportunities for researchers to work with start-ups, scale-ups and large corporations and on solving societal challenges. CSIT is involved in delivering three national cyber security innovation programmes namely; CSIT Labs, HutZero and Cyber101.
3. What support is being offered?
Those accepted on to the LORCA programme will receive a year of bespoke, world-class support to scale their business, all within a dedicated space at LORCA’s base at Plexal, Here East. Companies will receive support to meet target clients, to help achieve product-market fit, to engineer and iterate their solution, to grow into new markets and to be positioned to scale to national and global markets.
LORCA offers participating companies a unique opportunity to be supported by experts to achieve product-market fit for their solution, and to scale quickly. One to one commercial and technical support provided by Deloitte’s Cyber Risk Service team. The Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast provides world-class academic and engineering support. Plexal, an innovation hub based at the Here East campus, provides innovation support, curates professional service providers and convenes a wider community to drive takeup of solutions from different sector verticals.
Successful applicants to the programme will receive a bespoke programme of support over an initial six-month period that enables their specific solution to achieve greater success. The latter six-month period will continue to provide access to LORCA’s premises and fixed desks, masterclasses, mentoring, data sets and our annual cyber event. Technical support will be offered at preferential rates.
All cohort members will be part of the alumni, and an overlap between each cohort, together with informal meet-ups will enable organisations to meet and connect directly.
The range of support available includes:
- Each company will have 2-3 dedicated secured desks for free
- Up to 1 hr per week per company to each of Deloitte cyber technology specialists, commercial advisory support, legal services, accounting support, marketing expertise, and / or recruitment advice
- Remote access to CSIT’s testing facilities with two dedicated engineers for each cohort
- Training and education sessions covering specific technical, commercial and academic topics around entrepreneurship, cyber security, provided by CSIT
- Business and entrepreneurial mentoring
- International outreach services and exposure to international markets, for example through the Global EPIC network and trade missions
- Connections to investors and purchasers through showcases and networking events, and through the Innovation and Finance Forums. The Innovation Forum supports design of challenges and selection of each cohort, and is made up of corporate and other purchasing organisations. The Finance Forum convenes finance experts from VC, angel and other players from the funding ecosystem.
4. How is the support being designed?
Each successful organisation’s support plan will be designed based on a combination of the company’s specific ambitions in relation to furthering the solution that meets real-world cyber challenges, market needs to amplify the impact of that solution, and feedback from experts involved in the selection process about what package of support can assist companies best.
5. What testing facilities are available?
Depending on the exact requirements, many of the facilities offered can be accessed remotely by cohort members.
The CSIT facilities and infrastructure include the following:
- CSIT Experimental Test Network: Comprising 10Gbit/s backbone, multiple 10Gbit/s subnets for experimental security research in Network, SDN, DDoS attacks, IoT, ICS and SCADA, web, and cyber-physical security. Air-gapped from QUB campus network with separate access to the internet, this enables experimental studies of various attack strategies and scenarios for detection and mitigation purposes. Virtualised, sandboxed environments can be provisioned with state-of-the-art monitoring and traffic capture technologies, terabyte storage and an extensive repository of IP traffic, enabling the rapid replay and study of complex multi-stage attacks. Available for industry training, capture-the-flag competitions, demos and penetration testing.
- CSIT Malware Analytics Lab: An array of remotely deployable and reconfigurable (with fresh OS) PCs, Mobiles (Android), Servers and VM images, and state-of-the-art malware analysis and reverse engineering tools, operated within a virtualised, sandboxed environment. These facilities enable the analysis of various malware and botnet families such as Zeus and Citadel, as well as emerging ransomware.
- CSIT ICS Security Lab: This smart grid cyber-physical testbed comprises a DC motor driven generator that can be synchronised to the mains using ICT control and communications. This is used for experiments using IEEE C37 and IEEE 61850 communications to study resilient control strategies for physical operation under stressed cyber conditions.
- CSIT Data Security and Authentication Lab: Equipped with a range of hardware and software tools for addressing all aspects of hardware-related security challenges. The large scale PUF testbed comprises 240 parallel FPGAs, 100 low end Cortex-M0 MCUs and 100 midrange Cortex-M4 MCUs. A dedicated temperature chamber permits the evaluation of various PUF architectures and technologies across different environmental conditions. Side-channel analysis facilities enable Power and EM analytics and comprise a high-performance digital oscilloscope, power supply units, signal generators, a programmable EM scanner and a dedicated GPU rig for computationally intensive analysis.
Deloitte’s Cyber Intelligence Centre (CIC) is based in Reading and provides cyber security managed services to a number of clients. Managing a Security Operations and Intelligence Centre provides an ideal platform to test and validate new products and services. Available equipment with the CIC includes:
- Two IBM Power 8 Mainframes
- One Minsky AI (super computer)
- Four ESX x86 Environments
- 10GB network
- One Petabyte storage area network
- Multiple VPN services
- Dedicated high speed link
- Core Cisco network
- Cisco ASA Firewalls
- Hadoop Cluster
- Spark Cluster (analytics)
- Arcsight Implementation
- QRadar Implementation
- Trend DDI implementation
- IR testing environment
- Forensics testing environment
- Baracuda Network sampling
- Bluecoat Network sampling
- Multiple Microsoft testing domains
- Threat intelligence environment
- Penetration testing environment
- Malware research network
- Provision for ICS/IOT testing
Deloitte will also provide access to Codex Gigas: the world’s largest available Malware data-set. Codex Gigas is a malware profiling search engine that allows malware hunters and analysts to truly interrogate the internals of malware and perform searches over a large number of file characteristics.
6. Where is the support being offered, and what facilities are available?
Organisations will be supported through Plexal, a purpose-built innovation hub for digital entrepreneurs, situated on the Here East campus at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Each company will have 2-3 dedicated secured desks for free over the course of the programme.
The Here East campus provides unrivalled connectivity and a power, including access to 42 MVA of power and fibre networks with virtually unlimited, high quality bandwidth. 75% of the UK’s internet peering points are just two miles away in Docklands. Technology and digital tenants at Here East already include BT Sport, Loughborough University, the Advanced Propulsion Centre, Ford and UCL.
The core of the centre is a physically separated space, consisting of:
- A 30-person dedicated office space with its own separate access control, which will house the cohorts of 12-15 businesses with dedicated desks
- A dedicated meeting and breakout room for up to six people
- Access to a dedicated lab facility with a hardware, software and data testbed facility (see above).
7. How are the companies chosen?
Organisations will be selected based on:
- Potential impact of solution to address real-world cyber security challenges
- Level of innovation and uniqueness of solution relative to existing market
- The capability of the team
- The potential of the business model
- The fit of the team and solution with the programme
Finalists will be selected based on the above, and invited to attend an engagement day, where they will have an opportunity to pitch to the selection panel and meet with sector experts.
8. Do companies receive funding through the programme?
While there is not direct additional funding provided to participants through the programme, the Innovation and Finance Forums, comprised of corporate buyer and investors respectively, are designed to help facilitate paths to additional funding and investment for organisations involved.
Please note that whilst there is no direct funding available, the support cohort members receive through participating in the programme falls within the European Commission State Aid rules.
9. Are the companies required to licence or transfer any of their intellectual property to Plexal?
No. Neither Plexal nor our partners are taking equity, or requiring organisations participating in one of our cohorts to share intellectual property.
10. Are there any restrictions on the kinds of companies who can apply?
Organisations must be a UK registered company and have a commitment to grow their UK presence to be eligible to apply. Organisations will also be endorsed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to participate.
11. What happens after the programme ends?
Organisations who choose to stay on in the programme will have access to highly subsidised rates at Plexal for a six-month period, and continued free business advice & mentoring, access to data sets and market insights. Technical support will be offered at preferential rates.
All cohort members will be part of the alumni, and an overlap between each cohort, together with informal meetups will enable organisations to meet and connect directly.