About You and Your Work

Your bio:

As founder/CEO of cybersecurity comparison website & marketplace www.ProtectBox.com, Kiran is not just making “Security for all” through Tech4Good. By making buying quick, simple & affordable for small & medium businesses. And taking away pain for Suppliers too by getting them Sales (not just leads) in a fair marketplace powered by responsible AI. But by also bringing diversity to cyber. 

Winner of 8 Awards with coverage in The Times, Telegraph, Wired, CityAM amongst 30+ others.  

Prior to this Kiran has had various careers across government, industry (as a banker, PR, investor), not-for-profits and consulted for several start-ups. Plus scuba dived world, worked as nurse whilst training as doctor. Highlights include managing all the UK govt’s bi-lateral cyber relationships; #WeProtect (children against online exploitation) Summit; Ministerial Reviews on Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) resilience & raising 1st Socially Responsible Investment in South Africa supported by Archbishop Tutu for miner Lonmin.

Project name:

ProtectBox (B2B/C/G/I Cyber Marketplace)

One-line project summary:

Small & medium businesses anywhere in world can find & buy, in an hour for free, all their Security in 1-place whether they’re technical/not

Present your project.

Every day we hear about another cybersecurity attack, but the real horror of cybersecurity for most small & medium businesses is just trying to buy it to protect themselves. If it’s not thousands of pounds & months wasted with a consultant then it’s the headache of jargon, or both. Imagine if, instead, businesses could in an hour for free (online), find/buy all of their cyber in 1-place, by filling out a simple questionnaire with lots of friendly no-jargon features to help them, then compare bundles & pay in 1-click, who would say no to that? Well that’s what cybersecurity comparison website & marketplace ProtectBox lets small & medium businesses do. It also takes away the pain for Cybersecurity suppliers selling to these businesses.

We support 4 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals i.e. 5. Gender Equality, 10. Reduced Inequalities, 16. Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions & 17. Partnerships.

Submit a video.

What specific problem are you solving?

Cybercrime is top 2 risk to global economy, costing $600bn annually (0.8% of global GDP) from $445bn in 2014. SMBs 1/3rd of global economy & 2/3rds+ of cybercrime victims. 1/2 attacked closing in 6 months. COV-19 exacerbated this & prior inequalities. Our vision is "security a right for all" by building efficient cyber ecosystem by automating cyber buying process for SMBs &  "winning hearts & minds" about how SMBs view cyber (trust/transparency) & who can work in cyber (non-tech gig econ roles).  

Working from home is new for a lot of SMBs. Experts from UK's NCSC & WHO amongst others, have revealed an increase in attacks online (focused on COV-19 information) as cybercriminals exploit this change in working. With half of all SMBs who're cyberattacked, closing as a result, before COV-19. Need to protect this significant (75%+) part of UK (/global) economies, is even greater now.

170m SMBs globally. Global security mkt grew from $3.5bn (2004) - $75bn (2015), expected $1 trillion (2020). $24bn UK security mkt grew from 17%-24% (2016).

What is your project?

Cybersecurity comparison website/marketplace www.protectbox.com lets small & medium businesses anywhere in the world find & buy, in an hour for free, all their Security in 1-place whether they’re technical or not! After filling out our no-jargon questionnaire (like those you fill out for an insurance policy or credit card application but with extras such as delegating questions to your team or importing answers from accounting software & non-techie info icons in 100 languages or a friendly support team), our responsible AI shows you 6 bundles of Technology, People & Processes in our Comparison tool that you can personalise (by cyber risk scores/ratings/price using sliders & filters like you see on Skyscanner & Kayak) before 1-click buying with lots of ways to pay, including spreading your payments over time.  

In the same way that banks sell insurance as an add-on, we can be sold as an all-in-one cyber add-on by insurers, banks, accountants, basically any data service provider to businesses, including governments. We’re working with partners on Consumer, Enterprise & Infrastructure product iterations.  

We’re also making the Sales process for security Suppliers, quicker, simpler & fairer, by giving them actual Sales not just leads.

Who does your project serve, and in what ways is the project impacting their lives?

Our customers are all Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) & Suppliers. SMBs - From non-technical business owner to technical manager (& everyone in between via our delegates option) of any SMBs, from the 1-man bands (/SOHOs) to 10 million turnover with thousands of employees. For Suppliers, we check if they’ve an SMB product & any ratings that’re available, before accepting them.  

We conducted extensive user research/focus groups with SMBs & Suppliers
globally whilst developing the product. In launched product, we've
added feedback/Rating/Review system for products bought (/sold) &process.

Users include corporate & government partners. In same way banks sell insurance as add-on, ProtectBox can be sold as all-in-one cyber add-on by accountants, banks, insurers, any data service provider incl govt. By adding (on their website) link to our website to buy from us or bundling us until their products. Or advocate us through sales, social media, client briefings. We build brand loyalty, increase market penetration & CSR for partners. 4 on-boarded, 100 in pipeline. COV-19 has increased partner traction, insurer agreed in principle half our 2020 Sales bundling us into their services & re-purpose for B2C. Defense behemoth working on B2G military/OT infrastructure supply chain management iterations. Partners develop our use cases

Which dimension of The Elevate Prize does your project most closely address?

Elevating issues and their projects by building awareness and driving action to solve the most difficult problems of our world

Explain how your project relates to The Elevate Prize and your selected dimension.

We’re not just making the process of “Security for all” easier, delivered by building an efficient cyber ecosystem by automating the cyber buying process for SMBs. We're also "winning hearts & minds" (inspired by my childhood heart-throb band WHAM) by having built our Tech4Good on Trust, Authenticity & Inclusivity bringing diversity to cyber, by offering non-tech, gig roles & why we pledged 1% of our company to keyworker through https://genieshares.com/ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-DOWCliNrE) & support wellbeing (https://www.headstogether.org.uk/) & BlackLivesMatter (https://www.linkedin.com/company/tla-black-women-in-tech/, https://byp-network.com/) initiatives (plus more) to Build Back Better! 

How did you come up with your project?

My vision for ProtectBox is for World Peace, oh no that’s Miss World ;)

My own ProtectBox journey has shown me that, right now, it costs
thousands, months of emails, no set delivery deadlines to get simple
things done with Suppliers, wasting so much resource and causing so much
frustration. That’s why I’m making ProtectBox a more positive
experience for my fellow SMBs.

I first came across the huge cyber problem for small and medium businesses whilst working for the UK government’s Cabinet Office and Foreign & Commonwealth Offices.  Frustrated at being told (by industry & governments) there were too many conflicting parties to align & not enough money available to make it happen. I left my job to use my skills & network to make it happen.

1 year into her journey, Air Commodore Nick Bray CBE joined as COO. Nick & Kiran worked previously together in UK government in 2013-15. Nick worked in the UK’s Royal Air Force, NATO, UN Forces & UK’s Ministry of Defence in strategic/ops roles. Plus more recently strategic/innovation roles in Defence/Security enterprises.

Why are you passionate about your project?

I’ve seen so much money wasted and cybersecurity compromised through the siloed way in which technology suppliers are set up and deliver services. IT teams separate from sales teams and IT staff not able to understand C/Board level risks or able to talk to the other without an army of project/product managers) to mediate. We see future as automating all these markets and stitching them together. Building this at ProtectBox stops me giving up blow after blow.

Also constantly being told that a sole female BAME (non-technically trained) founder like me could make this happen, has made me actively challenge the norms of who can work in cyber by actively hiring women. Also breaking the ‘stigma’ around this type of hiring by actively hiring from the supposed ‘unemployables’ in Cyber. Namely, non-Westerners, ex-forces, graduates, returners etc. Looking into doing the same for digital mums, ex-offenders, career transitioners (eg those being made redundant) and those in service/shift roles that can supplement their gaps in work with ‘Uber’ style customer service roles for ProtectBox.

Also why I pledged 1% of ProtectBox via Genieshares to BAME keyworker. Not just 1%, also all help needed to make whatever they want to make happen.

Why are you well-positioned to deliver this project?

All of CEO/Founder Kiran Bhagotra's career has been "winning hearts & minds" (inspired by her childhood heartthrob band WHAM), most recently managing UK govt's bilateral relations on cyber. Her prior consulting for founders, industry & investment banking/VC & PE careers let her manage outsourced developers. Plus gave her network to take to market.

Kiran’s personality also drives our brand, to quote her "I first came across this gap, working for UK govt on cyber. So, I put my (little) money where my (big) mouth is to make it happen. My own journey in which I’ve been told ‘non-techie’ like me couldn’t do it, is a driving force. I’m also known for making the ‘impossible’ possible, using my fun, engaging way.”

She is supported by COO Nick Bray CBE with his extensive strategic & operational experience across government & industry, internationally.He helps her manage the team of 1-2 full-time experienced cyber/IT sales & 5+ Sales interns. 3 (5+) accounting UK/USA/India teams.

Several other consultants, with an array of Defence/Security; Technical (AI/Security); international Trade & Marketing expertise support (on "pro-bono" basis) with marketing and all manner of business activities.

Provide an example of your ability to overcome adversity.


Describe a past experience that demonstrates your leadership ability.

I thought this was best answered by how others describe me:

  • Resilient/Role model: to quote a friend of 25 years, Dr Hema Purushothaman "seen Kiran's natural 'Big Sister' character mature into nurturing role. Despite not becoming a doctor, empathy helping others stayed with her..proud to see her achieve success despite all the challenges. Kiran a strong, resilient, female who I've seen champion women at uni & in variety of male dominated areas & roles"
  • Empathetic/Breaks down barriers: At South African mining company Lonmin I was voted ‘most impactful’ at an organisation-wide event for empowering women (and men) to speak about trauma after sharing how I’d moved on from my own.
  • Diplomatic/Brings the right people together: Feedback from my UK government work included “she helped open doors and create momentum well beyond the cyber sphere”…“communications internally / externally which resonated with a wider audience in way others struggle to achieve.”
  • Makes ‘impossible’ possible, using my fun/engaging way to get through difficult times (of which I’ve had many). Also, why I’ve been fortunate in meeting many influencers / celebrities / luxury brands (such as Archbishop Tutu blessing Lonmin reversing its apartheid legacy) to acknowledge my work, which I’ve used to help others.

How long have you been working on your project?


Where are you headquartered?

Belfast, UK

What type of organization is your project?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

If you selected Other, please explain here.


Solution Team

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