Boosting the fight against cyber attacks


A University of Leeds spinout company has received an investment boost to develop its ground-breaking cyber security technology.

Cavero Quantum has created a quantum-safe cryptography and encryption technology for secure mutual key generation and authentication. The technology replaces multi-factor authentication and one-time passwords

With cyber attacks estimated to cost the global economy £5.5 billion per year, demand for Cavero Quantum’s technology is expected to increase as existing cryptographic methods become more vulnerable to quantum computers. 

The startup - founded by Professor Ben Varcoe and Dr Frey Wilson - has now received a £2.2 million growth capital investment led by Foresight Group, an infrastructure and regional private equity investment manager, alongside co-investor Northern Gritstone

Cavero Quantum will use the funding to commercialise its technology and launch its first product. Ben will support Cavero Quantum alongside his existing role as Professor of Quantum Information Science in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds, while Frey becomes Chief Technology Officer. 

As part of the investment, Ben and Frey will be supported by the appointment of James Trenholme as chief executive and Andrew Wallace as chair. James is an experienced software entrepreneur who previously founded and exited an identity services start-up, whilst Andrew has significant deep-tech experience in quantum computing.

Northern Gritstone - an investment company launched in 2021 by the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield – is dedicated to supporting science and technology-enabled businesses in the North of England, including spinouts from its founding university partners.

Frey and James participated in Northern Gritstone’s venture-building programme NG Studios, powered by Deeptech Labs, held in Leeds earlier this year.

Cavero Quantum is an example of a world-class business of tomorrow built on the amazing science and technology that exists in the North of England today.

Duncan Johnson, Northern Gritstone

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, University of Leeds, said: “It is inspiring to see how the experimental quantum science team at Leeds has developed solutions for such a critical issue in online security.

“Cavero Quantum's technology will have a major impact on our global community, making sector-leading improvements and bringing financial savings to businesses. It is testament to the world-leading, innovative technology being driven by our region.”

James Trenholme, Chief Executive Officer at Cavero Quantum, said: “The technology that Ben, Frey and the experimental quantum science team at the University of Leeds have built really is ground-breaking technology.

“It’s the first solution in the world that can replace security standards like ECDH [Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman] without compromising on architecture and customer experience, keeping data safe for the future as quantum computing becomes the norm.”

Richard Ralph, Investment Manager at Foresight, said: “Whilst Cavero Quantum’s technology is potentially revolutionary to quantum cryptography, it offers the potential for immediate improvements on existing cryptographic approaches due to its dual authentication and password-less nature, thereby providing improved security against existing cyber-attacks.”

Duncan Johnson, Chief Executive Officer at Northern Gritstone, added: “Cavero Quantum’s technology is applicable today and has the potential to allow individuals, businesses and nations to function safely in a post-quantum world.

“Spun out of the University of Leeds’ innovation ecosystem, one of Northern Gritstone’s university partners, Cavero Quantum is an example of a world-class business of tomorrow built on the amazing science and technology that exists in the North of England today.”

Further information

Please contact Richard Abbott on in the University of Leeds press office.