CyberASAP Alumni Insights: “Academics - you will need to change your mindset”

Posted on: 12/04/2022

In the next of our series of case studies on CyberASAP Alumni, we talk to Mark Bishop, the man behind Fact 360, whose first paying customers are now on board.

A spin out from Goldsmiths, University of London, Fact 360 provides pioneering AI and unsupervised Machine Learning to help organisations find critical information in their communication networks.

The seed of the idea was there before the team joined CyberASAP, a programme which provides academics with expertise and funding to commercialise their research in the cyber arena. “CyberASAP looked like the perfect mechanism to take the idea to the next stage….to explore what we could do with the idea commercially” explains Bishop.

And, despite only completing the first phase of the programme, the team has made strong progress.

“We’re in a really good position currently. The technology is progressing really well – I believe it is world-beating” continues Bishop.

“Financially we’re quite comfortable too. We’re really confident about what we’ve developed, really excited by the technology and benchmarking against key players. We have continued to develop the platform and now have multiple customers using the platform for Investigations into Anti-Corruption and Fraud; we are now involved in proof-of-concept explorations with large System Integrators and Forensic accounting businesses. We also, most recently, released a further use-case based on providing five key metrics to help organisations review the wellbeing of staff, teams, and the organisation as a whole by looking at the communications network”.

Read the full Fact 360 case study, as well as 12 others, here.

CyberASAP had a huge impact

Bishop echoes many other Alumni of CyberASAP when he talks about how academics need to learn a wide range of new skills and thinking to operate effectively in the commercial world.

“We didn’t know anything about developing a Minimum Viable Product; about creating a Value Proposition; about how to use social networking effectively; so gaining knowledge and skills in those areas was incredibly useful”.

There are some very tangible results from the new knowledge gained on the programme: “…as a result of the CyberASAP LinkedIn session, I decided to try and develop my own profile and network and this has led to myriad positive outcomes including connecting with another academic from whom we have bought the rights to use some amazing software”.

And, a more psychological/cultural rather than practical shift, Bishop stresses the very different approach needed for academics who are looking to break into the market: “Academics – you will need to change your mindset!”.

Advice for fellow academics considering commercialising their research?

Engage in a programme of support, like CyberASAP. It’s really hard without it. For us, it provided a massive leg up – I simply can’t imagine going on this journey without having had that support”.

Read the full case study here.

About CyberASAP

CyberASAP is funded by the UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and delivered by Innovate UK KTN and Innovate UK in partnership. Now entering its sixth year, the programme has seen 116 academic teams from all over the UK participate, and 57 graduate (the programme is selective throughout). Alumni have between them raised more than £17m in further funding to progress their cyber innovations. More about the programme’s impact is here.

If you’re interested in supporting the programme in any way, or would simply like to be kept up to date about it, provide your details here; you can also follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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