• Innovation centre could help create 2,000 UK jobs in cyber security, positioning UK as the global leader
  • Plexal partners with Deloitte and Queen’s University Belfast to launch innovation centre based at Here East, in former Olympic Park
  • More than 70 start-ups will benefit from world-class technical, commercial and engineering support – accelerating access to buyers, investors and international markets

Plexal has been appointed by the UK Government to deliver a major cyber security innovation centre on the site of London’s Olympic Park.

Opening in spring 2018, the £13.5m innovation centre will be led by Plexal, hosted in Plexal City at Here East (a 1.2 million sq ft digital and creative hub), and will be delivered in partnership with Deloitte’s cyber team and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast. Together, they have formed a cross-disciplinary team with deep entrepreneurial, engineering and cyber security technical skills.

The London Cyber Innovation Centre will incubate 72 cyber security companies ranging in maturity, over a three-and-a-half-year period. Each organisation will receive a customised programme of technical and commercial mentoring from some of the world’s leading authorities on cyber security. Start-ups will also have access to and insights from further industry experts, including connection to the EPIC network of international cyber clusters and research hubs that bring trade and investment opportunities on a global scale. The Centre will also convene a diverse range of investment partners from angels to VCs and institutional investors, providing participants with a broad selection of investment opportunities.

Robert Hannigan, former head of GCHQ, will lead the centre’s industry advisory board, which will also include Roni Zehavi, co-founder and CEO of Cyberspark Industry Initiative. The industry advisory board will play a vital role in connecting wider industries to ensure innovations have strong market relevance and commercial potential. Plexal is also partnering with a number of leading universities such as UCL and Queens to ensure a talent pipeline and the commercialisation of key research findings.

Plexal, founded by Claire Cockerton and clients of specialist real-estate investment advisory company Delancey, is offering LCIC companies access to its wide range of innovation services, business mentors and professional services such as financial advice, HR & recruitment, accounting, brand and marketing, and use of state-of-the-art technology facilities. Members will also have access to a number of community events to help encourage collaboration between large corporations and start-ups, and cross-pollination of ideas among peers.

The centre is currently seeking large enterprises to join an Innovation Forum, which will inform six themed accelerator programmes and the real-world challenges that start-ups will be asked to develop new solutions to. The Forum will meet quarterly and will aim to maximise piloting and contracting opportunities for smaller firms, thereby better advising the industry on product gaps in the market.

Since being opened by London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan in June 2017, Plexal has been empowering a host of different-sized technology companies across a variety of sectors including AI, data analytics, VR/AR, fintech and IoT. Last month, Plexal launched Plexiglass, an accelerator programme for female-led startups with Barclays and LLDC.

Claire Cockerton, CEO and founder of Plexal commented: “The UK has a strong heritage in tech innovation and a fertile business environment for start-ups to scale. Our future international standing as a world-leading digitally-enabled economy depends on the delivery of a robust and forward-thinking cyber security sector. The London Cyber Innovation Centre will provide the bedrock for this to happen – delivering bespoke business development programmes, engineering resource, professional services, access to corporate buyers and ambitious investors. At Plexal, it is our mission to bring the whole industry together to accelerate innovation, entrepreneurship and business growth for UK PLC.”

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “London is the undisputed leader of European tech, with billions of investment flowing in every year and world-leading firms developing groundbreaking innovations.

“This new centre in the Olympic Park will build on the site’s legacy of excellence and spark a wave of creativity to develop tomorrow’s technology and protect the nation from the increasing cyber threat.”

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of LLDC said: “This is exactly the type of high-skilled enterprise that we hoped would form part of the Park’s legacy. Plexal, Here East and others are attracting a growing cluster of the top digital companies to the Park. The impact is huge, creating thousands of jobs as well as more opportunities for young people in east London to aspire to high-skilled careers in this rapidly growing sector.”

Stephen Wray, director of Cyber Innovation at Deloitte said: “The new Centre will provide UK cyber innovators with a platform to develop their products with exactly the right market fit. We are delighted to support with both our extensive cyber domain expertise and global market access.”

Paul Goswell, managing director of Delancey, said: “Here East is already establishing its self as the go to area for some of Europe’s most innovative companies. The London Cyber Innovation Centre will inspire the next generation of technology innovators, creating a safer and more reliable internet for the future. By 2021, the global value of the cyber security industry will be over £130bn, with the London Innovation Centre, the UK is able to position itself as the global leader, creating jobs for the future and boosting Britain’s reputation as the go to nation for technology start-ups.”

Dr Godfrey Gaston, CSIT director, said: “CSIT has been at the forefront of UK cyber security research, innovation and economic impact since being established in 2009. During this time our Centre has utilised a unique model of innovation which marries world leading academic research with industrially experienced engineering capability to establish and support the growth of cyber security companies across the UK and helping them reach new markets across the globe. We are excited to be involved in delivering the LCIC, which will enable us to support the next generation of companies in this dynamic and strategically important industry.”


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