Mercia EIS Funds

Tech firm that helps police combat child abuse raises £5m


Cyan Forensics, the Mercia-backed company that helps police and social media companies to find and block harmful content from paedophiles and terrorists, has raised over £5m in a Series A investment round.

The latest funding round was led by Par Equity and backed by Mercia, Triplepoint, SIS Ventures, Scottish Enterprise and the MacLeod Family Trust. It brings the total raised by the Edinburgh-based company to date to over £8m.

Cyan Forensics’ technology allows police to find evidence of child abuse or terrorist activity on a suspect’s computers in just minutes, replacing processes that previously took many hours and were typically carried out in a forensics lab weeks or months after an arrest.

It has been described as “game-changing” by the UK government and as “having the power to make a big impact in the fight against online child sexual abuse and imagery” by the USA’s National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Founded in 2016 by former police forensic analyst Bruce Ramsay and Ian Stevenson, the company has a contract with the Home Office to provide tools to police forces across the UK as part of the Child Abuse Image Database (CAID).

A key focus for company in the coming year will be Cyan Protect, which helps social media platforms, messaging and cloud content sharing companies find and block child abuse and terrorist content.

Ian Stevenson (pictured), CEO of Cyan, said: “Our technology is already making a significant impact within counter terror and child sexual abuse investigations in the UK, and we’re excited to build on this momentum in mainland Europe and the US. We’ve built a great network of partners to support our ambitious growth plans, and our team will double in size during each of the next two years to support this growth.

“We believe globally we are at an inflection point, and that the UK is at the forefront of online safety tech and has a significant role to play in the global picture. Greater conversation, policy and integrated global change is needed to drive transformative solutions to safeguard online. Cyan is very much at the heart of this picture.”

Chris Kilroy, Investment Director for Mercia, said: “Having seeded the business in late 2016, Mercia is delighted to continue to support Cyan alongside Par Equity and existing investors. Cyan has significant growth potential across a number of markets and we’re looking forward to continuing to support Ian and the team moving forward.”