London's latest cyber security hub opens its doors to 72 startups

LORCA will spend millions on boosting security-focused startups and scale-ups

London's newest cyber security hub officially opened yesterday, offering 72 startups a space to scale and grow their businesses with the help of expert support and advice.

The London Office for Rapid Cyber Advancement (LORCA) is the recipient of 14.5 million in government funding, which it aims to supplement with 25.5 million in outside investment.

It will use the cash to provide startups and scale-ups with tech support, professional services, business advice and other forms of mentorship at Here East's Plexal tech campus in east London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

"What we're doing is providing engineering support, access to datasets, commercial expertise and all the inputs and expertise an organisation might need - as well as connections and networks - to take an idea that's already promising and scale it," LORCA director Lydia Ragoonanan told IT Pro. "We're also providing organisations with a great space and home to work in, should they choose to be based here in London at Plexal."

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The centre aims to house 72 startups over the next three years, and has already accepted ten companies into the current crop of cohorts, including firms specialising in threat analytics, biometric authentication and IoT security.

However, Ragoonanan was quick to point out that the centre is not just an incubator for startups, and is more concerned with helping existing businesses to expand and flourish. LORCA's role, she said, was predominantly to help cyber security companies solve business challenges through guidance, and by providing them with a base of operations in the capital.

Speaking at LORCA's official opening yesterday, secretary of state for digital Matt Hancock said the centre could make the UK a digital leader in the post-Brexit world, stating: "I profoundly believe that cutting edge technology, coupled with creative and artistic genius, is the fulcrum upon which our country will be built."

"This is the critical mission for us all," he added. "The economies that flourish in this age of technology will be those that bring everyone together: governments to put in place the right rules, funding and frameworks, researchers to create those historic breakthroughs to push the boundaries of what is possible, and businesses - the digital dynamos - to help us solve the problems that face the world.

"This new centre will do that. Everyone has their part to play so that we can be world leaders, so we can have the skills, the security and the innovation to go from strength to strength, and we in government are determined to support you to make that happen."

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