London, United Kingdom: After pitching their security innovations to a panel of judges before a live audience of investors, industry, government, VCs and peers, mPedigree and iWebGate have been awarded prize packages totalling $500,000. This followed a rigorous selection process lasting months, in which hundreds of hopeful innovative companies were narrowed down to 7 contestants in a climactic showdown at the University of London.
The Global Security Challenge (GSC) Summit, a Dragons’ Den style event for security companies, marks the culmination of an annual competition to find the Best Security Start-Up and Best Security SME. The competition attracts entrants from around the world, and innovators must excel at regional finals to be invited to the final summit in London. Last year’s winner Kromek has recently had its liquid scanner machines approved for use at EU airports, and previous finalists, including tenCube and Vumii have been acquired in multi-million dollar deals.
Best Security Start-Up
mPedigree Network (www.mPedigree.Net) originally from Ghana but with its largest active program in Nigeria, where its partners range from NAFDAC to May & Baker Nigeria PLC, developed the world’s first system to enable consumers and patients to instantly verify the authenticity of their medicines by sending a free text message of the unique, product-embossed, codes at the point of purchase .
Across the developing world, especially in West Africa, the issue of fake and counterfeit medication has become a huge problem – the WHO estimates that in many emerging markets, up to 30% of drugs are compromised. The growing sophistication of cheap graphic software and hardware kit means that packaging, including traditional security features such as holograms, can be perfectly replicated by even smalltime counterfeit operators making the need for a highly robust but economically feasible system urgent.
While being just as robust as emerging methods such as EMID and RFID, and far more secure than holograms, the mPedigree approach is widely accessible through basic text messaging, requires no specialist equipment or training, is free to access for consumers, and a fraction of the price of holograms, and RFID and EMID techniques. Its success has led to adoption in lucrative markets such as Nigeria, where several multinational pharmaceutical companies now considering mobile phone based pharmaceutical authentication. The Ghanaian-Nigerian company, which now works closely with global technology giant Hewlett Packard, aims to extend the service across Africa in coming years.
mPedigree, having won this prestigious prize, thus receives a $200,000 investment from the TSWG of the US Department of Defense and mentorship from Advent Venture Partners over the next year.
Bright B. Simons, Founder of mPedigree Network and inventor of the technology said “This is a clear sign that African technology has come of age and also that innovators in Africa addressing complex, difficult and unique challenges can, notwithstanding limited resources, deliver world class results. I would like to thank our partners, without whom both our work and this honour would have been impossible. In particular, we would like to thank Nigeria’s NAFDAC, HP, May & Baker, Ashoka and many others we cannot name now. Through their support, we are indeed saving lives, across Africa and soon beyond.”
Best Security SME
iWebGate, based in Australia and the UK, has developed an online security product which represents a virtual, highly-secure reception area between an organisations’ trusted network and volatile public networks like the Internet. It aims to enable businesses to improve the overall security of trusted networks while keeping it simple to do business on the Internet.
Due to significant cost and technical complexities most SMEs connect perimeter firewall ports directly to applications/systems residing on their trusted network. A very risky process as software and application security is rarely 100% secure.
The iWebGate platform, which is cheap and easily implementable, mirrors the trusted network and supplies all the key services normally provided and located in the trusted network. Undesirables penetrating perimeter defences remain stuck in a ‘ghost network’ with nothing of value available and a lack of physical stepping stones to access the trusted network or launch outward bound surrogate attacks on other networks.
iWebGate has been awarded $300,000 sponsored by TSWG of the US Department of Defense and mentorship from the Carlyle Group.
Kim Mettam, Owner and Director of Business for iWeGgate said: “We’re honoured and overwhelmed to win the GSC. Even the entry procedures have had major impact on our company, so to win is amazing and will help us bring to the world the vision we have for a safe internet for everyone.”
John Morgan from Technology Support Working Group, the US government agency which provides the prize money, said: “Competitions like this are vitally important to addressing issues like crime and terror which rely so heavily on innovation. Instead of putting money into specific areas of research, it invites companies to offer solutions to problems and funds the best ones – a very effective use of funding in a changing area like this. In the past five years we’ve identified some really promising technologies that we may not have otherwise come across, and which will be important in the ongoing struggle to keep people safe without limiting their freedom.”
Now in its 5th year the challenge has proven itself a key contributor to improving national and personal security through technology, and a catalyst for bringing some of world’s best security companies to the attention of investors and customers. Previous winners and finalists have gone on to raise over $80 million investment as a result of the challenge. The GSC is supported by Accenture, BAE Systems, Blue Star Capital, Control Risks, London Business School, ONR Global, Smiths Detection, TSWG and UKTI, amongst others.
Global Security Challenge is part of the OmniCompete group.
For more information on the Global Security Challenge, please contact:
Siobhán Gabriella Gibney
Enquiries for mPedigree Network may be directed to: