Six start-ups and SMEs selected to join the ISST Innovation Ecosystem


The I-HUB building on the White City campus

The ISST Innovation Ecosystem is located in the I-HUB on the White City campus.

The Institute for Security Science and Technology (ISST) has revealed the first start-ups and SMEs to officially join the ISST Innovation Ecosystem.

The Ecosystem forms a growing network of partners from industry, academia and government developing solutions to international security, resilience and defence challenges in a ‘triple-helix’ model.

The six start-ups/SMEs are leading innovators from across multiple domains, from quantum computers to haptic suits for virtual reality. They will each benefit from the engagement with the Ecosystem, which includes potential R&D partners from academia, and potential customers and funders from U.K. and U.S. government agencies as well as major international companies such as Airbus, SAAB and Smiths Group.

The six companies are:

The DEFEND3D patented security protocol delivers end to end encryption allowing organisations to store their designs locally on their home server while enabling them to use their virtual inventory to manufacture parts in remote locations without any file transfer in the process and with no data at rest. OEM’s can now stream to remote devices for digital manufacturing without any file transfer. The DEFEND3D secure transmission service allows users to browse a digital catalogue of IP and filter between OEM’s content and services, building a resilient supply chain to produce parts on demand – reducing the logistics footprint.

"Being part of the ISST ecosystem has already enabled us to collaborate with a number of organisations within Defence and Security, helping to shape our offer and accelerate us an SME." Anisha Singh, CPO DEFEND3D Ltd.

Iceni Labs
Founded in 2013, Iceni Labs takes early stage technology from the lab to the market by partnering with outstanding academics and researchers and an extensive network of commercial experts.

"Iceni Labs is honoured to join the ISST eco-system at such an important time for UK defence and security innovation. We are looking forward to working in collaboration with our fellow members to help solve these challenges." Alexander Giles, Chief Commercial Officer at Iceni Labs.

ORCA Computing
ORCA Computing is a UK company with completely new approach towards quantum computing based on a proprietary quantum memory technology. ORCA’s quantum memory overcomes scaling challenges which make it a challenge to maintain large numbers of quantum bits (qubit). ORCA’s memory builds photonic quantum computers from optical fibre and telecoms components, and applies them to novel architectures for machine learning and other applications.

"ORCA already love our base within the ihub, on the White City campus. It provides us with not only a great working environment, but also connections to other cutting edge scientific businesses. Our business also has many applications within the defence and security community, so we are delighted to be offered the chance to enhance these through our involvement in the ISST innovation ecosystem." Richard Murray, CEO and Co-founder of ORCA.

Quaisr provides an integration service for building digital twins. Quaisr helps customers create their own digital twins using in-house domain knowledge, reducing the problems of adapting and commissioning generic commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) alternatives. Quaisr components empower citizen developers to build production tooling using internal company data streams and existing cloud-provider resources.

"Quaisr is delighted to be joining the Innovation Ecosystem and looking forward to collaborating with its members." Professor Omar Matar, CEO of Quaisr.

Synbiosys’ vision is to accelerate the incorporation of new materials into engineering structures by orders of magnitude. Their toolkit will allow for next generation materials to be fully understood and validated within months and not decades, fuelling the material’s evolution and providing the foundation for optimal engineering designs.

“Defence & Security has a unique set of barriers to entry for startups not seen in other industries. The ISST's Ecosystem is key to removing these barriers by placing startups, Primes and government in the same room. With this, we will see a symbiosis of startup speed and agility, Prime industry experience and government insight to bring about an acceleration of UK innovation not seen in decades.” Dr Jose Videira, CEO of Synbiosys.

Valkyrie Industries
Valkyrie is building the next-generation human-computer interface, enabling an augmented, realistic sensation of touch in a virtual world. This has application in empowering hazardous and dangerous industries -- such as defence, oil & gas, and nuclear --  to train, simulate and work safely and more efficiently, in any situation, under any circumstances, and at any location, locally or remotely.

"The team at Valkyrie is excited to join the Institute for Security Science and Technology at Imperial College and help contribute to some of the world's toughest challenges that exist in the world of security and defense. We built our haptic technology knowing about the enterprises who wished to create meaningful virtual simulations but ultimately couldn't due to the lack of smart human-computer interactions available. We hope to make a large impact within the ISST and bring our Innovation to commercialisation even faster than imagined." Kourosh Atefipour, CEO and Co-founder at Valkyrie Industries. 

Zarine Khurshid, ISST Special Projects Manager who leads the development of the Innovation Ecosystem, said:

"I am delighted to welcome these six companies to the Ecosystem. The companies joining us are all at the cutting edge of solving real world problems for security, resilience and defence, and we can see real synergies between these companies and our existing Ecosystem partners from across governments, academia and industry.”

The importance of innovation and collaboration for national security and defence was highlighted in the Integrated Review from the UK Government, released in 2021, entitled 'Global Britain in a Competitive Age'.  The ISST Innovation Ecosystem was founded back in 2018 with this very challenge in mind, with the recognition that in a rapidly changing world proliferated by technology, security and defence challenges need industry, government and academia to work closely to help generate the development of new science and technology, at pace.

Bringing these three major stakeholder groups together is at the core of what the Ecosystem does, and start-ups and SMEs are a crucial part of this. These smaller entities, often founded off the back of cutting-edge research from universities, have a greater amount of agility and quicker development cycles which means they can react to the changing security landscape faster.

For these small companies, access to the ‘problem owners’ in government and potential corporate development partners in the security and defence space can be a major challenge. On the flip side, these large organisations often find it a challenge to access the most promising innovations.

The Ecosystem is working to bridge this gap, operating a co-location model to enable interaction and engagement and accelerate opportunity creation.

If you’re interested to learn more about the ISST Innovation Ecosystem you can visit the webpage or contact


Max Swinscow-Hall

Max Swinscow-Hall
Institute for Security Science & Technology


White-City-Campus, Security-science
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