Editorial

LORCA cohort companies break £150 million barrier

LORCA’s cyber accelerator breaks £150m investment milestone for cohort companies on second anniversary

Posted 10 September 2020 by

The London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA) has revealed that its cohort companies have raised more than £150m in investment since the programme launched two years ago.

LORCA, the government-backed cybersecurity innovation programme delivered by the innovation centre Plexal, was tasked with raising £40m over three years. However, LORCA members have raised £153m, 280 percent of the original target and 12 months ahead of schedule.

This accounts for 76 percent of the funds raised by all cyber security businesses participating in Government scale-up programmes and 69 percent of all cyber investment raised in the UK since the country went into lockdown.

“Good cybersecurity is the bedrock of our digital economy – giving people the confidence to shop, work and play online and keeping businesses safe from cybercrime,” said Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden.

The announcement comes at a time when UK cybersecurity is emerging as a growth success story during the global health pandemic. Research from Plexal and Beauhurst shows that cyber start-ups have raised £126m since the country went into lockdown, reporting only one fewer deal than in the same timeframe last year. This comes after a record year for British cyber investment in 2019, when start-ups raised more than £500m for the first time.

Investment

Investment into LORCA companies has primarily come from UK-based venture capital investment firms. The most active investors into LORCA cohort companies are IQ Capital Fund, 24Haymarket and Octopus Ventures.

72 start-ups and scaleups have been supported by LORCA over the past two years. This includes innovation and commercialisation consultancy, product development and access to industry through a curriculum designed by Plexal (the innovation centre and coworking space based at Here East, established by Delancey), the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast and Deloitte.

Businesses that have gone through LORCA’s accelerator have generated £26.5m in revenue over the last two years and are set to create 800 jobs by 2022.

Of these 72 businesses, 36 percent of them are based outside London and an additional 22 percent were previously based outside the UK. LORCA cohort companies are based in some of the fastest growing cyber clusters outside London – including Belfast, Cheltenham, Manchester and Edinburgh, all of which feature in the top 10 local authorities for cyber start-ups in the country according to the inaugural LORCA Report.

“Never before has cybersecurity been of such economic and strategic national importance. In the context of the global health pandemic, the UK’s cyber entrepreneurs have continued to drive job creation, attract investment and consolidate the country’s position as a global hub for cybersecurity innovation,” said Saj Huq, director of LORCA.

“Breaking the milestone of raising £153m in just two years is testament to the quality and potential of the cyber start-up ecosystem that exists across the UK and the centrality of it to the UK’s long-term prosperity.”