Lancaster University spinout Mindgard Ltd Raises £3M in Seed Funding

Lancaster University's School of Computing and Communications is based in InfoLab

A world-class technology spinout company from Lancaster University has secured £3M in seed funding to take the business to the next level.

Mindgard, a startup specialising in security for AI, today announced that venture capital firms IQ Capital and Lakestar have invested as seed funders to bring Mindgard’s unique enterprise platform to market.

The London-based firm which began as a spin out from Lancaster University - a UK top ten ranked university and established centre of excellence for cyber security teaching and research - intends to accelerate growth and expand operations with this £3M funding round.

Already in use by the intelligence community, Mindgard’s automated threat analysis, detection, and response platform harnesses years of PhD-level research in AI security performed at Lancaster University.

The AI security platform, which fully integrates with market-leading cybersecurity products, helps clients automate and scale security testing, detection, response and remediation of their AI models via an easy-to-use platform.

Mindgard was founded by Lancaster University researchers Dr Peter Garraghan (CEO and CTO) and Dr Neeraj Suri (CSO) both of Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications, along with Steve Street (CRO and COO).

They say that while many businesses are developing and investing in new AI tools, new security applications are required to protect these investments – which is where Mindgard comes in, offering the most comprehensive enterprise platform designed to fully address the issues of security for AI.

“Today’s businesses are rapidly embracing Large Language Models and other AI technologies," said Mindgard CEO Peter Garraghan, of Lancaster University. “And although these companies understand the need to secure their AI assets, the enterprise cybersecurity that worked for them in the past won’t help guard their AI against the next generation of cyber threats. This leaves companies open to the possibility of AI models and data being stolen or compromised, as well as disabling attacks from bad actors.

“Currently, Mindgard is deployed by key intelligence organisations around the world to assess, detect, and respond to AI issues and attacks as they happen. With this seed funding, Mindgard now becomes available to enterprises who need to protect their operations against the rapidly-evolving AI threat landscape. We are defining and driving the security for AI space, and believe that Mindgard will quickly become a must-have for any enterprise with AI assets.”

AI models are an emerging critical attack surface for organizations increasingly seeking to deploy AI,” saidArchie Muirhead, Partner at IQ Capital. “Mindgard provides the most comprehensive solution to manage this surface and reduce risk. With Mindgard’s platform, the complexity of model assessment is made easy and actionable through integrations into common MLOps and Sec Ops tools and an ever-growing attack library. We are happy to back a remarkable founding team spinning out of a world-leading AI security lab at Lancaster.”

In addition to IQ Capital and Lakestar, Mindgard is supported by NVIDIA Inception Programme, Microsoft Founders Hub, Plexal, InnovateUK, Lancaster University (through Higher Education Innovation Funding), and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Impact Acceleration Account.

Lancaster University is a leader in cyber security and protection science and one of only a handful of universities nationally to be identified by the National Cyber Security Centre as an Academic Centre of Excellence in cyber security research and education. Aligned to Government £5bn investment to establish the National Cyber Force in Salmesbury, Lancashire, Lancaster University is investing £19m in its security and protection science research, innovation and educational capabilities. Lancaster’s flagship investment is creating more than 30 new academic roles and 15 new professors in practice from across the private and public sectors, plus 10 new professional support staff.

About IQ Capital

IQ Capital, founded in 2007, is a London and Cambridge-based venture capital firm that invests in deep tech at Seed and Series A across all deep tech sectors - including generative AI, advanced engineering and novel materials, space-tech, quantum hardware and algorithms, cyber and data security and synthetic biology. IQ Capital has raised six funds with assets under management more than $1bn and can invest initial cheques of $1m and scaling up to $50m in its outperformers. All the firm’s portfolio companies have shown the potential to dominate their respective markets on a global scale. IQ Capital’s current portfolio includes leading deep tech companies such as Speechmatics, Thought Machine, Paragraf, Porotech, Nyobolt and Causalens. The IQ Capital team has achieved over 20 exits to date including trade sales to Oracle, Google, Apple, Facebook, Siemens and several IPOs

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