With applications for GovStart 2020 now open, in this article we’ve taken a look at the journey of one of the startups from last year’s cohort, Cyan Forensics. Cyan Forensics is an online safety tech startup which was founded in 2016 by Ian Stevenson.
Cyan Forensics joined GovStart as part of the 2019 cohort and is a startup helping police investigators find evidence faster. The Edinburgh-based company helps law enforcement, social media and cloud providers to find and block harmful content from paedophiles and terrorists.
Cyan Forensics’ technology helps the police to quickly find evidence of child abuse, radicalisation or terrorist activity on suspects’ computers, giving investigators the ability to make better decisions to safeguard the public.
Their GovStart Journey:
After joining the GovStart cohort in September last year, Cyan Forensics went on to secure £1.5m worth of funding from a consortium of investors in December, bringing the total raised so far to £3m. The GovStart programme allowed the team at Cyan Forensics to meet with senior government officials and experts in the Online Safety sector.
“We joined GovStart because we realised we didn’t know very much about working with the government and we needed to learn. Joining the program helped us to meet senior civil servants, advisors and politicians in a friendly environment and to understand about their jobs, the things they care about and sometimes the constraints they have on how they work. That helped us to understand how to build more constructive relationships with government”.
Ian Stevenson, Founder of Cyan Forensics
Online Safety Tech Association:
In November 2019, PUBLIC organised an online safety roundtable bringing together a range of innovators and stakeholders from the online safety community to meet in PUBLIC Hall. The roundtable was organised in order to position Cyan Forensics at the heart of the debate and discuss the challenges and opportunities in front of them with experts in the field.
PUBLIC introduced Cyan Forensics to Baroness Shields (previously UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security, and now sitting in the House of Lords) who chaired the session, which included representatives from a number of innovative companies, as well as government and charitable organisations working in this area, including IWF, Securium, Yoti, Censorpic, Crisp Thinking, Safe to Net and NSPCC.
The outcome of the roundtable was an agreement that there was a need for a body that represents those creating technology for online safety, to facilitate and promote opportunities for collective voice, influence and networks. From this roundtable an Online Safety working group was formed and chaired by Ian Stevenson the CEO of Cyan Forensics.
Leading on from the roundtable and formation of the working group, in April 2020 Ian founded the Online Safety Tech Industry Association which is the UK’s membership body for the online safety tech industry, delivering a voice of hope, collective influence and efficient networks.
In May 2020, Cyan Forensics was featured in a UK Government report ‘Safer technology, safer users: The UK as a world leader in safety tech’ as a startup championing online safety.
Next steps for Cyan Forensics?
Cyan Forensics is working on expanding internationally and demonstrating capabilities for online safety. The company already has customers in Germany and has closed its first sales to a law enforcement agency in France. Cyan recently signed a partnership with the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington to explore the potential for their technology in the US too. Cyan has been involved in some really exciting work to demonstrate the positive impact tech can have in online safety, you can find out more about the company here.
Interested in finding out more about GovStart 2020? Sign up for our virtual Q&A session here.