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Paul Hague, founder and CEO of Blackdice. SUR
British cybersecurity startup Blackdice confirms its commitment to Malaga

British cybersecurity startup Blackdice confirms its commitment to Malaga

The founders of the company, who moved to the city in 2022, have gone through Google's mentoring programme and will soon open a physical office

Monday, 27 November 2023, 17:34

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Blackdice, a cybersecurity startup founded in Leeds, is finalising the details for the opening of its first physical office in Malaga, the city its founders moved to a year and a half ago. The company, which specialises in cybersecurity and is sponsored by Google, has confirmed its plans to operate in the city, where it aims to grow from three to ten employees in 2024 and then twenty in 2025.

Blackdice designs specific cybersecurity solutions for telecom operators' subscribers. "Our purpose is to help people stay safe online, to enjoy entertainment, to enjoy learning and to work in a safe environment. We do this by bringing cybersecurity solutions, to what has traditionally only been available to enterprises, to the consumer market. Using AI driven technology to predictively protect consumer and SME networks," explained Blackdice founder and CEO Paul Hague.

Blackdice's business idea was born out of Hague's own "personal experience". "I know from painful experience what it means to families for children to become victim to online harassment and how familes and small businesses struggle to use the internet in a safe way. We aim to change that. We go beyond current cyber solutions by assessing device behaviour and predicting when devices are behaving strangely, proactively monitoring threats to individual devices and providing data to operators. Making sure they can maintain the quality of experience their subscribers demand," the entrepreneur said.

With this approach, the company, founded in 2019 in Leeds, moved to Malaga in August 2022. Hague went on to explain his decision to move the Costa del Sol: "The tech ecosystem and vibe here is palpable, there is an energy around the city that is unlike anywhere else I have been. Google establishing a cyber centre here as well is a big draw and having expertise, both academic and business, is really important to us. Add to that the fabulous climate and wonderfully welcoming people then it seemed like an easy decision." However, Brexit is complicating their situation in Malaga. "You would be amazed how long it takes to establish a business, obtain visas and for our family to settle down," said the entrepreneur.

Sponsored by Google

When its founders and four of its employees were already working from Malaga, Blackdice was selected by Google in March this year to participate in its Growth Academy startup mentoring programme, organised through the Google for Startups division. "This was the sixth time Google has done the Growth Academy startup mentoring programme in Europe and it was entirely focused on companies related to cybersecurity," explained Sofía Benjumea, director of Google for Startups in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Benjumea highlighted the "high level" of the startups in the programme, three of which are Spanish and one, Blackdice, from Malaga. The Growth Academy lasts three months, during which the companies follow a mentoring programme.

"Based on the challenges faced by each startup, we put them in contact with Google mentors who accompany them and help them to solve product, market access, sales and organisational problems..... We also give them access to a unique network of contacts and suppliers, and this creates a very interesting community among the participating startups. When we choose them, we make sure that they are not in competition with each other," explained the head of Google for Startups.

The relationship between Google and the 'batches' of entrepreneurs it sponsors does not stop at the end of the three months. "They become part of our alumni network and they keep in contact. For example, they will come to Malaga to participate in activities during the inauguration of the Malaga Security Engineering Centre [scheduled for next Wednesday]," she said.

"I can’t stress enough how good this has been for us. From expertise in partner programmes to helping us with software tooling. From start to finish the programme and the amazing Google people involved have been immensly useful," said Hague.

Blackdice's CEO announced that they have "huge plans" for 2024, both in terms of attracting investment and growing clients and business.

"We have huge plans for 2024 from investment to customer growth. We are establishing ourself in Europe and just starting to explore US, Africa, Middle East and Asia. We want to be the solution operators turn to when they need to address security and Quality of Experience This is a huge market and we have the experience, the knowledge and the capability to make BlackDice a powerhouse in delivering a safer internet for our customers," he said.

New batch of Google for Startups

Google, for its part, has just closed the registration period for a new Growth Academy programme for cybersecurity projects, which brings in some new features: "We are going to incorporate some US startups to improve connections across the globe. The focus will be on the use of artificial intelligence to solve cybersecurity-related problems." In addition, next year another mentoring programme will also be launched for start-ups in AI applied to healthcare.

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