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LORCA graduate CounterCraft is working with the US Department of Defense //26.01.21

Dan Brett, CounterCraft

Cyber startup CounterCraft, which graduated from LORCA’s third accelerator programme, has revealed that it will be working with the US Department of Defense to enhance its cyber threat detection and intelligence-gathering capabilities. The company has been awarded an Other Transaction (OT) agreement by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), which prototyped CounterCraft’s capabilities in the use of deception technology to prevent cyber attacks targeting the Department of Defense.

The DIU accelerates the adoption of commercial technology and methodologies into the US military. It connects the Department of Defense’s partners with technology companies. Its aim is to prototype technology and getting commercial solutions into the field in 12 to 24 months.

To learn more about the startup’s latest client and its expansion plans, we caught up with CounterCraft’s founder and chief strategy officer Dan Brett.

Congrats on your new client! How did the opportunity come about?

We replied to a Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) process that the DIU launched in summer 2019. We’re using our tech for a number of specialised use cases that are relevant to the defense of operational units in the DoD. Our prototype has been successfully piloted and we’re rolling it out to a wider audience right now with the extension of our contract.

“We went from initial contact through to a contract in under three months. This is unheard of in my experience of working with large governmental institutions.’

What made it possible for the contract with DIU to go forward so quickly?

The DIU has been set up to accelerate the adoption of commercial technology throughout the military, and they really did that. We went from initial contact through to a contract in under three months. This is unheard of in my experience of working with large governmental institutions.

How do they do it? They really study the technology area they’re interested in deeply, with a combination of subject matter experts and tech insiders. They then collaborate with the final clients in the DoD and clarify the challenge they face. Then the public aspect is when they reach out – with clear messaging – to commercial technology vendors. The clarity of the ask and the way they identify their needs is really helpful.

Is defence a sector you targeted strategically?

Defense and national security is definitely a sector that we target with a specific product and service offering that solves key challenges. But we also have a highly customisable product that also works wonderfully for most larger commercial organisations. We work in sectors like retail, engineering, banking and more. We often rely on partners to give us the specialist knowledge of the sector.

How has LORCA contributed to your success so far?

LORCA has been fundamental in more ways than you can imagine. The trade mission we went on during the programme was to the US to specifically investigate setting up a business there. We now have CounterCraft Inc. up and running and recently met our lawyers in New York at a session organised by the LORCA team.

We also met one of our investors while at an event held by LORCA in London, and our contacts with programme delivery partners Deloitte and the National Cyber Security Centre continue to this day. This gives us coverage with the right partners and right sectors that we wouldn’t have achieved otherwise. LORCA has helped us with corporate development, financing and engagement with clients – no mean feat.