Sheffield tech start-up launches world-beating encryption product

Cybersecurity firm Sitehop has launched the world’s lowest latency network encryption product following initial investment of £1m from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund – Mercia Equity Finance.

SAFE100 is the Sheffield firm’s flagship product

Sitehop, a Sheffield-based technology company has released its flagship product, the SAFE100, which is setting new standards for the cyber security industry. It offers the world’s lowest latency 100Gbps network encryption, designed for the telecommunications, financial, and datacentre industries.

Melissa Chambers and Ben Harper founded Sitehop at the end of 2021. The investment facilitated the purchase of capital equipment and infrastructure as well as bringing on additional engineers. All were required to build the complex set of systems and skills to create a product designed for the world’s largest data companies.

SAFE100 offers a self-contained appliance that offers quantum resistant cryptography whilst also allowing for simple deployment in complex networks. Sitehop is currently testing cutting edge post quantum cryptography (PQC).

The product led to Sitehop being selected as one of six top cyber startups in the UK through the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s (DSIT) Cyber Runway Ignite program.

Sitehop has already performed customer tests globally and is looking to push further into the Americas, creating a presence in both the US and Brazil. This supports plans for global deployment, with the first covering areas of Northern Europe, the US, India and Brazil.

More locally, Sitehop has plans to partner with local Northern universities to invest in graduate recruitment, allowing for retained growth and expertise within the business.

Chief executive Melissa Chambers said: “Business is about making connections and having a great product, and NPIF has helped us with both. The fund’s continued support through inclusion in its online publicity and at trade shows has helped profile Sitehop as well as attract a wider focus on Sheffield as an area for investment too.

“Through NPIF investment, we were able to use this to develop our business and create the right environment to make SAFE100. This has become our flagship solution which has gained traction in the market and has placed Sitehop on an upward trajectory for the foreseeable.”

Will Clark, managing director of Mercia Ventures, said: “Ben and Melissa have solved a problem that even the big tech companies have so far failed to solve – how to secure telecoms and data networks without causing them to slow down. The funding has enabled them to bring this world-leading product to market.”

Debbie Sorby, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said:  “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund helps to bring in investment, skilled individuals, and new ideas, creating a strong foundation for opportunities and economic growth. Sitehop perfectly illustrates this concept in action.

“Cyber security is an omnipresent and increasing threat not just for the UK, but globally. By investing in technology, Sitehop spotlights the North as a place for technological expertise and development, guiding us towards a more promising future.

“The NPIF project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.”