2020 Annual Report

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Supporting cybersecurity innovation

Story synopsis

  • Through our work with the government-funded London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA), we’re helping to find innovations with the greatest potential to help companies stay one step ahead of the criminals.
  • Our collaboration with startup CyberOwl has helped the company to triple its staff numbers in a year and secure £1.8 million in investment.

As the world becomes more dependent on inter-connected digital systems, cybersecurity needs to evolve and adapt in an ever-more sophisticated environment.

Recognising the importance of helping to protect businesses while raising the profile of the UK’s position internationally as a cyber leader, the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA) has a remit to find innovations with the greatest potential to help companies stay one step ahead of the criminals.

Funded by the government, one of LORCA’s main aims is to support promising cybersecurity startups to grow solutions.

Bringing our cyber expertise and knowledge of the cyber market to LORCA, we’re playing a key role in helping cybersecurity startups to position and accelerate their businesses, collaborating with investors, academics and the international cyber community.

Culture, capabilities and community

Together, we’re developing new cyber defences that can keep hackers at bay – collaborating with startups like CyberOwl to bring its ideas to market.

According to Stephen Wray, director, Deloitte Cyber Risk Services and leader of the firm’s work with LORCA, a successful innovation centre has three vital ingredients: “The right culture, the right capabilities and the right community.”

“Every six months LORCA finds 12 of the brightest startups to support,” he continues “and CyberOwl was identified in the first cohort as one of the most promising companies, responding to the market’s current security needs.”

Building skills

CyberOwl creates a product that detects and raises an early warning of cyber attacks. While its people had the technical know-how to create this new product, they needed to boost their commercial skills to enable their business to flourish.

“We had a team of six, a good product and plenty of demand” says CyberOwl CEO, Daniel Ng “but while we had ambitious plans, we needed help refining our go-to-market strategy.”

To help plug this gap, we collaborated with CyberOwl on a programme of work through which our specialists met with the team each week to help build a tailored approach, with Stephen acting as an ad-hoc chief commercial officer.

Recognising the benefit of this expertise, Daniel continues “the access we've had to LORCA and Deloitte has accelerated our ability to make decisions.”

“For me personally, having people with a range of different strategic backgrounds to offer a sounding board has also been a great experience.”

Ambitious plans

Further support included running a bespoke programme that tested the market for CyberOwl’s product while it was still at the ideas stage, combining market research with expert opinions to provide detailed feedback.

We also co-wrote and co-developed a concept product that has the potential to bring in revenue, and have worked with existing clients and networks to open up potential opportunities.

Catching the wave

The results speak for themselves.

The support we provided through LORCA has enabled CyberOwl to focus on the maritime, defence and industrial sectors – which has led to it winning contracts with organisations like the Ministry of Defence and securing £1.8 million in investment.

In just a year, CyberOwl has boosted its numbers from six to 18 and has established offices in London, Birmingham, Athens and Singapore.

Reflecting on CyberOwl’s success, Stephen compares working with a startup like CyberOwl to helping someone learn to surf: “There will be massive waves of opportunity that will come and go - and you need to be ready.”

“When start-ups work with LORCA, we make sure the culture is right, with the right capability and the right people to signpost the ‘ebbs and flows’ in the market and help our innovators paddle to the wave.”

Building the UK’s cybersecurity profile

In 2018, alongside Plexal and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), Deloitte launched LORCA for the UK government.

Twelve months ahead of schedule, LORCA has helped 72 participating startups raise more than £150 million of investment and is building the foundations for a global cyber innovation hub in London. Businesses that have gone through the accelerator service over the last two years are set to create 800 jobs by 2022.

“We bring together investors, academics and the international community to make it easier and quicker for start-ups to succeed.”

Stephen Wray, Cyber Risk Services

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