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UK intelligence agency picks start-ups for cyber security accelerator

David Goddard | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Seven cyber security start-ups have been chosen to join the new GCHQ Cyber Accelerator, it has been announced.

The accelerator is a partnership between GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters, one of the UK's three intelligence agencies), the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and tech fund Wayra UK.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Wayra UK said that the accelerator would help to keep the UK secure online and allow businesses to produce "the next generation of cyber security systems." This would boost the U.K.'s £22 billion ($27 billion) cyber security sector, it added.

The start-ups selected are counterintelligence company CounterCraft; Cyberowl, which has developed an early-warning system for cyber-attacks; collective intelligence platform FutureScaper; smart compliance platform Cybersmart; Spherical Defense, the developers of a banking API (Application Programming Interface) intrusion detection system; AI-powered intelligence platform StatusToday; and digital wallet and exchange platform Verimuchme.

"I congratulate all the companies selected to join the new accelerator facility which is now open for business," Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital and culture, said in a statement.

"This is an important step in delivering our National Cyber Security Strategy, and supported by £1.9bn transformative investment in cyber security," he added, before going on to say that the accelerator would help U.K. entrepreneurs, "create cutting-edge technology to better protect the nation from cyber-attacks and make going online safer for all."

The government has said that by 2021 it aims for the U.K. to be "secure and resilient to cyber threats, prosperous and confident in the digital world."

"The opening of the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator is a significant step forward for the UK's ambitions to be a global hub for cyber talent," Gary Stewart, director at Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ (UK), said.

"This accelerator could have a huge impact on the global cyber security sector, generating the next generation of systems that will make everyone's online experience safer and more secure," Stewart went on to add.

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