Cybercrime

Jaco joins MemCrypt to tackle ransomware threat

Pete Jaco: new CEO

Tech entrepreneur Pete Jaco has been appointed chief executive of a university spin-out tackling the multi-billion pound ransomware market.

MemCrypt was spun out of research at Edinburgh Napier’s School of Computing with substantial backing from Scottish Enterprise, which supported the launch and early-stage funding requirements.

Mr Jaco joins chief technology officer Dr Peter McLaren on the MemCrypt management team.

Edinburgh Napier’s Professor Bill Buchanan will continue to support MemCrypt as the company’s chief scientist while Dr Owen Lo will take the role of technology lead.

Mr Jaco takes the reins as the business steps up plans to help customers and technology partners combat the threat posed by cyber criminals.

Ransomware – malware that encrypts files, giving the attacker scope to demand a ransom to restore access – is increasingly becoming the attack of choice for cyber criminals as it has a high chance of financial return coupled with a low chance of detection, and the threat is increasing daily.

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MemCrypt follows earlier Edinburgh Napier cybersecurity ventures ZoneFox, Symphonic Software and Cyan Forensics in making the leap from research lab to the market. It has built early traction through its pre-launch involvement with Innovate UK’s CyberASAP programme accelerator. 

MemCrypt also benefited from intensive, hands-on support, guidance and advice through Scottish Enterprise’s High-Growth Spinout Programme as it developed its value proposition, business plan and investment strategy. It also secured via the programme early-stage grant funding and, more recently, a substantial six-figure investment in the form of a Convertible Loan Note.

Mr Jaco is the co-founder of the Scottish Tech Army and was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to charity during the Covid-19 response.

He has worked in the UK SME start-up industry for over 20 years as CEO, non-executive director, advisor, and chair, supporting companies including Becrypt, Digital Shadows, Immense and CyberOwl.

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