Data security firm Silicon Safe celebrates £25k Proof of Market grant

Silicon Safe founders Roger Gross and Dr Will Harwood outside the company's base at Innovation Martl

Silicon Safe founders Roger Gross and Dr Will Harwood outside the company's base at Innovation Martlesham on Adastral Park. - Credit: Archant

An East Anglia-based cyber security start-up has secured a £25,000 grant to help prepare its first product for the market place.

Silicon Safe, which operates from bases at Adastral Park near Ipswich and the St John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge, is developing a hardware-based solution to prevent the large-scale theft of personal identity data such as usernames and passwords.

It has now been awarded a Proof of Market grant by Innovate UK, formerly known as the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), to help fund research into the ability of its Password Protect system to meet the needs of the market.

Roger Gross, co-founder and chief executive of Silicon Safe, said “We know that these grants are competitive and want to thank the TSB for their support. The Proof of Market grant will enable us to assess the widest commercial viability of our products through market research, market testing and competitor analysis.

“Live customer trials of our technology start later this month and we are keen to combine the TSB-funded research with specific feedback from Beta (second phase development) customer deployments before a commercial launch later in 2015.”

Mr Gross and fellow co-founder Will Harwood, who were formerly colleagues at US technology company Citrix, where they specialised in IT and security, launched Silicon Safe in April 2013.

Their concept involves an authentication appliance which holds usernames, passwords, biometic details or other personal data in isolation at a hardware level. This allows the data to be stored and checked for the authorisation of transactions while keeping it secure from theft via a network connection.

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They believe that, had their system been deployed, it would have prevented high-profile data breaches suffered in recent years by major names such as Sony Playstation, Adobe, Facebook and eBay.

For several months, Silicon Safe has been running a “Hacker Challenge” which offers a prize to anyone who can successful hack the system and steal specimen data stored there, with more than 1.25million unsuccessful attempts having been made so far.

Earlier this year, the company was among the runners-up in the storage category of the national Tech Trailblazers awards, which were open to technoogy firms up to five years old.