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LORCA’s fourth cohort of cyber innovators graduates //26.01.21

For the past 12 months, our fourth cohort of cybersecurity startups has gone through an accelerator that quickly went virtual-first once the pandemic began. And, despite there being challenging circumstances – in particular when it came to securing funding as VCs became more risk averse – the innovators have grown their teams, secured funding, launched new products and won new clients.

Here are some of cohort four’s biggest successes – plus highlights from our online graduation event.

Cohort 4: a year in review

Some of our members’ best moments include:

  • Acreto completing its £1.5m Seed round, rebranding, winning three customers through LORCA’s AHL partnership and launching its Security-as-a-Service Platform after three years.
  • Anzen Technology Systems growing the size of its team by 50%, launching a new product, partnering with AWS, Oracle Cloud and BAR Associates and winning an Innovate UK grant for research and development on its cloud database product.
  • Contingent securing a €1.9m Seed funding round, developing a new user interface and bringing on 15 beta customers.
  • Keyless launching five products, doubling the size of its team, launching three pilots, opening new offices in Rome and London and securing $6.3m in funding.
  • IriusRisk closing a $6.7m Series A round, growing its team by 86%, expanding in the UK and US, launching version three of its product and rebranding. 
  • Heimdal Security growing the size of its team by over 3,000%, opening new offices in Leeds and London and being acquired by Marlin Equity Partners.
  • Kinnami partnering with Constellation Network, West Virginia University and New Resource Partners, launching a new product and bringing the US Air Force on as a client.
  • Darkbeam securing £250 000 in investment.
  • L7 Defense securing £4m in a Series A funding round, partnering with Amdocs Quick Heal and winning new clients in the US, EU and Asia Pacific.
  • Orpheus Cyber integrating with the Edge4Health procurement platform and launching two new product development improvements (including machine learning for predictive threat management).
  • Risk Ledger growing its team by 30%, partnering with 3VRM and expanding its presence in Scandinavia and Qatar with new client wins.
  • SureCert beating off 1,600 other projects to be selected to launch a pilot with NHSx aimed at securing volunteers during the pandemic.
  • Licel becoming the first company in the world certified under EMVCo SPT, launching its new website, launching a new product (Alice) and growing the size of its team by 150%.
  • Variti partnering with Kx, rebranding and launching a new website.
  • VIVIDA rebranding and winning a contract with LORCA enterprise member Lloyds Banking Group following a successful pilot.

Virtual graduation highlights

Panel 1: protecting and verifying customers

Panellists:

  • Sujeesh Krishnan​, CEO, Kinnami
  • Stephen de Vries, founder and CEO, IriusRisk
  • Joshua Behar​, CBO​, L7 Defense
  • Haydn Brooks, co-founder and CEO, Risk Ledger​
  • Karla Reffold, COO​, Orpheus Cyber

In a  panel discussion, our innovators honed in on supply chain security as one of the biggest pain points for their clients.

Sujeesh Krishnan​, CEO of Kinnami, said the main challenge was having real-time visibility and effectively protecting the data flowing between suppliers. He said that with edge computing, IoT, sensors and drones, data needs to be processed locally while the attack surface is much larger. He added: “And on top of that, if you throw effects of the pandemic in it just means that now it’s not just organisational boundaries – you’re looking across many, many different points that that information needs to be secured.”

And as Haydn Brooks,  co-founder and CEO of Risk Ledger pointed out, simply trusting suppliers isn’t good enough: “The lack of trust I think comes from the fact that when a company goes out and asks the third party what they do to protect themselves, typically that third party is trying to win a contract. They will say anything they can without breaking the law to try and win that contract. You end up with a lots of data that ends up being quite dirty and messy.”

Our panel also discussed the need for cyber innovation to stay ahead of bad actors. Joshua Behar, CBO of L7 Defense, noted that “the hackers are moving very fast” and that it’s important to use technology like AI to counter increasingly sophisticated attacks.

Panel 2: remote working

Panellists:

  • Ivan Kinash​, co-founder and CEO, Licel
  • Thad Eidman​, COO​, Acreto
  • Simeon Quarrie​, CEO​, VIVIDA
  • Mikkel Pedersen, head of global sales, Heimdal Security

In our second panel, we explored the ways in which remote working has changed the security landscape. Thad Eidman​, COO​ of Acreto, said that the huge increase in remote working since the start of the pandemic was “the most recent example of a dramatic change in IT infrastructure”.  He added: “There’s going to be a dramatic shift in the security model from the days when people bought product after product after product and stacked them on top of each other and tried to get them to work effectively, which is no longer affordable.” Thad said that organisations are realising the security flaws of using VPNs, and his startup is helping to secure remote workers using cloud-based solutions that create “isolation containers” to protect certain assets used by a hybrid workforce from bad actors.

Our panel agreed that a zero-trust approach – where organisations don’t automatically trust anything either inside or outside their security perimeter – is here to stay. Mikkel Pedersen, head of global sales at Heimdal Security, said that the pandemic has simply accelerated the rate of adoption of zero-trust as a security stance. But many enterprises are still lagging behind when it comes to their ability to make this shift. He told us: “We are seeing corporations and our customers trying to stop malware approaching from a legacy point of view, trying to beat the missiles with a bow and arrow. We are seeing a lot of corporations still leaning on perimeter-based security, trying to secure an office space that – unfortunately with Covid – is no longer there.”

Meanwhile Simeon Quarrie​, CEO​ of VIVIDA, emphasised that the key to securing remote workers is educating them about good cyber hygiene in a way that they can grasp. “You can’t change behaviour if people don’t understand the language – the terms – and don’t understand the concepts. So we’ve been very much trying to break down these concepts into ways that people understand by using interactive storytelling.”