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28 January, 2015 - 14:29 By Tony Quested

Silicon Safe targets US cyber security market

Roger-Gross-Silicon-Safe

Another cyber security company from the Cambridge UK technology hotspot is blazing a trail towards the lucrative US market.

Cambridge is developing a global cyber security cluster to help governments and corporations fight global hackers and Silicon Safe is among the most ambitious of the newcomers.

With offices at St John’s Innovation Centre as well as a development centre at BT’s Adastral Park innovation hub, Silicon Safe is recruiting engineers and set to raise funds for expansion into the US.

Silicon Safe offers an innovative hardware-based solution that provides what it describes as “impenetrable protection for usernames/passwords, biometric data and other sensitive or critical data (e.g. credit cards).”

The company claims that had Silicon Safe’s Password Protect product been deployed it would have prevented the high profile bulk username and password thefts at Sony Playstation, Adobe, Facebook, LinkedIn and eBay.

The hardware solution is currently in beta testing with customers and can be viewed by interested companies via the Hacker Challenge

Silicon Safe is offering a prize to anyone who can successfully hack the system. To date there have been 1.25 million unsuccessful hacking attempts.

Silicon Safe has filed patents relating to its technologies in the UK and US and filed under the international filing convention. The company was founded in 2013 by two former Citrix engineers.

Co-founder and CEO Roger Gross said the patent application was progressing well and the company was encouraged by the correspondence it had received from the UK patent office. 

The first product, that prevents the bulk theft of user names and passwords, is being rolled out to beta triallists in February and will be commercially available in Q3. The second product – that protects biometric data – will be in beta trial in mid-2015.

Silicon Safe is funded by the founders, a small number of private shareholders and a government grant. The next round of funding is currently being negotiated.  

The company expects to become cashflow positive by the end of 2015 and then will decide on whether the company needs venture funding to move into the US.

Silicon Safe is also starting to scale headcount-wise; it currently employs two full time and two part time staff but on closing the current round four engineers and two commercial people will be recruited. Some outsourcing of agency staff will be undertaken to bulk up the numbers as products near rollout.

“We expect to have most of the UK operational team by the end of 2015 and then we will review the move into the US market,” said Gross.

Silicon Safe has just been announced as the runner-up in the Storage trailblazers award category for the 2014 Tech Trailblazers Awards. 

The Tech Trailblazers’ awards are designed to recognise innovation in smaller businesses and startups that are less than five years old and at C-series funding or below. The awards’ prize fund is worth over $1m and winners receive exclusive coaching, mentoring and development from VCs and leading CTOs.

“It was an honour to be short-listed for the Tech Trailblazers awards,” said Gross. “We competed against some very strong companies, especially from the US. The award is independent confirmation that our technology is judged to have a bright, international future.”

As Business Weekly reported last week, two leaders in Cambridge’s internationally-operating cyber security network – Darktrace and Cambridge Intelligence – accompanied UK Prime Minister David Cameron to a White House summit to advise president Obama’s team.

Darktrace opens a dedicated Washington DC office in February and reports massive US demand for its technology.

 

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Silicon Safe co-founder and CEO, Roger Gross

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