Online Safety Tech is a guaranteed unicorn

Online Safety Tech is a guaranteed unicorn
21 September, 2020 Anna Borgström
In Business, Child protection

Online Safety Tech is a guaranteed unicorn

Online Safety Technology, or Safety Tech for short, is in its infancy, but is showing huge potential for growth and development. The UK is already predicting a Safety Tech unicorn in the not too distant future.

This information comes from a report which the UK Government published in May this year, Safer technology, safer users: The UK as a world leader in Safety Tech, focusing on the Safety Tech industry and the great potential that it represents. Written with the support of academics and an economic think-tank, it highlights some of the UK’s most innovative businesses, that focus on tackling online harm through a range of technical solutions.

NetClean was a contributor to the report and is referenced as a pathfinding Safety Tech company. The fact that a Swedish company pops up in a report on tech should not come as a surprise to anyone in this world. Sweden represents cutting edge technology, development and is thought of as a nation that embraces good technical solutions to sustain economy, environment and safety online.

The initiative to write the report is great, and is needed elsewhere too, because so far little difference has been made between tech and tech, and the growth potential that it represents. Policy makers need to take note of what the much needed market for Safety Tech is worth, from financial, legal and ethical points of view, and invest time and resources into this growing area, just as has been done in other areas.

FinTech is today a well established group of technologies that disrupts the finance market through improving and automating the delivery and use of financial services. Safety Tech, definitely has the potential to be just as recognised and established as must have tools. After all, we need technologies that work towards disrupting online and connectivity spaces. We need to reduce the risk of users, including children, being exposed to harmful content, contact or conduct such as grooming, bullying, radicalisation and/or viewing self-harm material. And we also need technology that helps to tackle disinformation, and false or misleading narratives, all of which is the remit of Safety Tech.

“The report shows that the Safety Tech sector has grown steadily by 35% since 2016, and the expectation is that growth will in the future exceed the current growth. In addition a Safety tech unicorn is predicted in the not too distant future.”

Unicorn potential

Safety tech is developing rapidly, and is already attracting more focus from policy makers and developers. Hence the need for more reports like the one that the UK Government commissioned. The report shows that the Safety Tech sector has grown steadily by 35% since 2016, and the expectation is that growth will in the future exceed the current growth. In addition a Safety tech unicorn is predicted in the not too distant future.

As Safety Tech companies are also known to combine profit with purpose and aligning with Environmental, Social and Governance investment (ESG), to work toward longterm positive impact on society and environment, in alignment with how the business performs, there is an even greater incentive to invest in and track the development of this sector. We can lead the way on many sustainability issues together with other tech sectors, however we need to be acknowledged and we need further investment.

The drivers for the expansion of this sector in the UK, and everywhere else are: increased customer awareness of online crime; market preference to minimise toxicity and abuse on platforms and in IT-environments; enhanced legislation and regulatory considerations; personal exposure to harm – and the significant impact this can have; the increasing volume of content online; and heightened concern about the spread of disinformation.

In order to meet the demands on us to provide these vital services online we need, as the report states, further access to finance, a suitable policy landscape led by government, coordinated data-sharing across sectors, and support for innovation, cross-disciplinary research and development. We need our services to be understood as vital and we need to be seen as a sector in our own right, and this should hopefully return further investment and many unicorns.

For more details of the taxonomy of the Safety tech industry and its predicted growth read the report. For NetClean’s take on sector development read our reports and research.