A Sneak Pico…

With the HutZero 2017 programme around the corner, we thought now was the perfect time to check back in with our graduates from 2016.

This week we spoke to David Llewellyn Jones, co-founder of Pico Authentication and graduate from HutZero 2016. David has come a long way since he graduated so we wanted to share his story.

David was working on the Pico research project at Cambridge University in October 2015, developing and testing new, more secure and user-friendly approaches to authentication. After working on the Pico project for some time, it was clear there was a real opportunity to commercialise the research output. Yet neither David nor his co-founder Frank had any experience creating a startup: cue HutZero!

David realised HutZero would be a fantastic opportunity to get an overview of the most important issues to be aware of when starting your own business. Given Pico was focusing on authentication and HutZero is focused on all forms of cyber security, it was the perfect match! We asked David how HutZero helped him take his business to the next level:

“HutZero was an amazing crash course. It highlighted how little I knew when I started. By the end of HutZero I was nowhere near an expert on entrepreneurship, but at least I knew some of the important topics I needed to look into further.

Many lessons learnt at HutZero have helped us develop our business ideas. The need to rapidly iterate product ideas, the need to develop a convincing elevator pitch, understanding investment and legal aspects, and the importance of teamwork were all aspects emphasised during the programme.

In addition to this understanding, HutZero also helped us develop our own network with key individuals. We met people with entrepreneurial ambitions, to successful founders, potential customers and investors in cyber security. It would have taken us a lot longer than a week to build out a network like this.”

Setting up a cyber security startup is tough and not for the faint hearted. For David and Pico Authentication, the biggest lesson learnt from the programme was the importance of building a good team to take a business to the next level. HutZero also helped them identify potential business problems that they hadn’t yet thought of, saving them time and resources further down the line. David said “At least I am now aware of some of the most common traps entrepreneurs fall into. I now know what I need to learn more about to drive my business forward”.

Since HutZero, Pico Authentication won a place on the three-month ICURe programme, allowing them to conduct extensive market research. They are also currently involved with other programmes, helping them to develop their business skills and their product further.

When asking David what was next, he stated:

“We’ll soon be making our first open-source release, which will also give a taste of some of these ideas we have planned for the future. We feel like we’ve progressed a lot, although we still have a lot more to do.

I can’t recommend HutZero highly enough. If you’re thinking about, or have just founded your first startup in cyber security, I can’t think of a better way to get up to speed quickly. It was a great way to take a first step in the right direction.”

HutZero 2017 runs from the 4th-8th September. Application deadline is the 30th July, so apply now and be sure not to miss out!

Run by Cyber London and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), HutZero’s free two-stage programme connects 20 budding UK entrepreneurs with potential co-founders and a broad network of cyber and innovation experts.

HutZero is the UK’s leading bootcamp designed to transform early stage ideas into workable proposals and potential new businesses.

For more information on the programme please head to our website: https://www.hutzero.co.uk

You can also contact us on hello@hutzero.co.uk with any question you may have.

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