CYAN Forensics, the Edinburgh-based technology firm focused on law enforcement, has raised more than £5 million in Series A investment round led by Par Equity.

The latest funding brings Cyan’s support to date to just over £8m and will accelerate the firm's global growth plan over the next two years, it said.

Par Equity is joined by existing investors Mercia, Triplepoint, SIS Ventures, Scottish Enterprise and the MacLeod Family Trust.

The firm that helps social media and cloud companies find and block harmful content was founded in 2016 by Bruce Ramsay, a former police forensic analyst and key member of the research team behind its technology, and Ian Stevenson.

Cyan Forensics’ tools allow police to find evidence of child abuse or terrorist activity on suspects' computers in just minutes, replacing processes that previously took many hours and typically happened in a forensics lab weeks or months after an arrest.

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Its rapid digital triage technology has been described by the UK Government as “game-changing” technology and has been assessed by the USA’s National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as “having the power to make a big impact in the fight against online child sexual abuse and imagery”.

Cyan Forensics has a contract with the UK Home Office to provide its tools to police forces across the country.

Mr Stevenson said: “We believe globally we are at an inflection point, and that the UK is at the forefront of online safety tech and has a significant role to play in the global picture. Greater conversation, policy and integrated global change is needed to drive transformative solutions to safeguard online. Cyan is very much at the heart of this picture.”

Cyan Protect, Cyan’s ultra-fast moderation and blocking of criminal content, will be a big focus for the Scottish based company over the next year, it said. Based around the same powerful technology, Cyan Protect helps social media platforms, messaging and cloud content sharing companies find and block harmful content, providing a "vital first line of defence". The technology also enables better regulation, data sharing and it works in end-to-end encrypted messages without compromising user privacy.

Paul Munn, managing partner of Par Equity, said: “The funding will help Cyan scale up, strengthen their position in global markets and build out further applications for the contraband filter technology in social media, cloud and other online use cases."

Ian McLennan, of Triple Point, said Cyan "combines innovation and a strong growth story with the potential to make a significant positive social impact contribution".