Startup meets GCHQ – a personal experience

A few months ago we were applying for the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator. Today we have graduated. Full with gratitude, excitement and enthusiasm, we went back to London, continuing building our CyberSmart and our network.

In this post, we want to briefly share our experience from these three exciting months. As a startup, we have to do things much faster and more efficiently than other companies. This meant that for three months, we not only worked at the same office but lived at the same Airbnb, cooked together and went on activities as a team. Although challenging, this experience welded us together and made us more than just a group of colleagues.

Work

The accelerator was hosted at a location in the town centre of Cheltenham that cannot be disclosed. After some security briefings, we got down to work.
Days were split into three categories: meeting technical people from GCHQ, meeting investors and coaches through Wayra and working on the product. Although we all worked more than 12 hours per day, the experience has been extremely rewarding.
GCHQ arranged for us to meet their top tech talent and the people who designed, drafted and implemented the government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme. This gave us the opportunity to learn the details of the scheme; why it was drafted the way it is and what could be improved. We used this information to make our product even better and more secure.

Wayra is an accelerator run by Telefonica. Their role was to provide us with corporate training, contact to investors and pitch practice. Through their support, we got coached by the best of the best.

What we learnt

Often we get asked where we would be if we had not gotten into the accelerator. The experience helped us to achieve in three months what otherwise would have taken at least one year. With the know-how of GCHQ just a phone call away, we were able to develop a robust product that helps businesses to protect their most valuable assets, and at the same time, we helped HMG by providing a better solution for the implementation of their standards. As we are writing this, we feel extremely thankful for having been given this opportunity.

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