Mercia EIS Funds

£1.8m will help cyber firm lead way in maritime sector

David Baker of Mercia is pictured with Daniel Ng and Ken Woghiren of CyberOwl

A cybersecurity company whose platform helps to safeguard transport and infrastructure systems has raised a further £1.8m to help it expand its business in the maritime sector.

CyberOwl has secured funding from 24 Haymarket, Mercia’s EIS funds, and the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia as part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. The latest investment will allow the company to expand its global client base and establish itself as a leader in cybersecurity for shipping lines and port operators.

CyberOwl, which has offices in Birmingham and London, provides early warning of cybersecurity breaches in assets such as ships, ports, industrial plants and infrastructure and sets out clear priorities on how to tackle them.

The company, which was founded in 2016 as a Coventry University spinout, has been working with maritime operators in Greece, Singapore and Asia. The sector is increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals and facing pressure from regulators, with the International Maritime Organisation having ordered fleet operators to address their cybersecurity by 1 January 2021.

CEO of CyberOwl, Dan Ng, said: “The world may be adjusting to a new reality but cyber attackers have had years of experience in remote working and thrive in chaotic environments like this. The Covid-19 crisis will put even greater pressure on maritime operators to manage their cyber risks. This round of investment puts us in a strong position to help them continue to secure their systems and comply with security standards.”

David Baker, Investment Manager with Mercia, added: “Mercia has supported CyberOwl from the early days and we are pleased to do so once again in this latest funding round. CyberOwl has made real progress in generating interest from businesses in the past year and is emerging as a leader in cybersecurity for the maritime industry. This further investment will allow it to capitalise on the opportunities created to date.”

Grant Peggie, Director at the British Business Bank, said: “The Midlands Engine Investment Fund supported CyberOwl’s initial funding round in 2019 and it is great to see the Fund playing a key part in further investment, supporting the firm’s long-term growth. MEIF finance can be used to support expansion, innovation and moving into new markets and still has funding available to support Midlands’ businesses.”

Pat Hanlon, Board Director for Access to Finance at GBSLEP, said: "CyberOwl is a hugely ambitious business which has developed at an impressively quick rate and it's fantastic to be able to provide them with this sort of support. At a time when organisations have had to rely on digital technology more than ever, CyberOwl is providing important support across the globe, and we're excited to see the business go from strength to strength."  

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.