‘From Cheltenham to the world’ A summary of our epic trip to Lisbon

'From Cheltenham to the world’. A summary of our epic trip to Lisbon

Last month, team CyNam jetted off to Lisbon with a group of key stakeholders from the Cheltenham ecosystem. The aim of the trip was to experience first-hand Lisbon’s exciting tech start-up scene and learn about how it has transformed the city into a tech hub of international significance. 

So, what did we get up to whilst we were away?

Thanks to the brilliant organisation of Jeremy Bamberg and the Factory x HBD team, we had a jam-packed whistle stop tour of Lisbon.

Day 1:

We kicked off the trip with a bang. The first stop on our agenda was a trip to City Hall to meet Lisbon’s Mayor and Municipal Director of Innovation. This was a real eye opener into understanding the steps Lisbon have taken to put themselves on the map for innovation and start-up growth. Carlos Moedas (The Mayor) was also the former EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation. 

For some context… back in 2010, post financial crash, Lisbon was facing a crisis of high youth unemployment and little to no prospects for young, talented people. This was the key factor that, led to new entrepreneurs starting up tech companies, out of necessity. The city council recognised this and invested in a start-up incubator which became Start-up Lisboa, a focal point for the start-up scene to convene around. 

So, after our first stop, we headed over to the famous Carmo Rooftop for a relaxed start-up event. It was great to see such a range of organisations there and experience the beauty of Lisbon at night.

Day 2:

Our second day was the real showstopper. We had a day jam packed with site tours, educational talks and behind the scene event action.

The first stop on the agenda was a morning of ‘meeting the ecosystem’ at Factory Lisbon on a former military site in the Beato district. We were lucky enough to have a site tour of the flagship Factory building, followed by talks from local stakeholders who shared their stories and explored the importance of story-telling, community cohesion and stakeholder engagement. 

With everyone in the group now feeling fully inspired, we headed for our tour and concept pitch at Hub Criativo do Beato. During the tour, we were told about the concept of Factory’s development and how it is ‘more than just a building’. The building itself saw a disused military food manufacturing building (mainly used to produce cookies and pasta!) transform into an innovation hub oozing with potential for both the local and overseas population. The Hub Criativo is the surrounding area, which was kept at the forefront when the development began, meaning opportunities remained for both local residents and business stakeholders. A great example of what’s to come in Cheltenham.

And now for something really cool. Our final stop of the day before the main evening event was a visit to the Now_Beato co-working space to meet some inventors from the Jack the Maker lab. A huge thanks to the team for the awesome demos. Their office was like an inventors paradise! Check them out.

And last but not least…. The Europas. On our final evening of the trip, we all got suited and booted and headed over to the Opening Night of Web Summit & Night Summit.

A bit about the Europas:

Founded in 2009 by Mike Butcher, editor-at-large at TechCrunch, the Europas was originally formed to recognize and celebrate the innovation emerging from Europe’s burgeoning tech startup scene. In this year’s fourteenth edition a number of companies were shortlist for various awards, including our very own Immersive Labs, and we got to be there!

Day 3:

Before heading back to the airport, we soaked up the last of the sights in Lisbon and reflected on what we had learnt on the trip.

So, what were our key take away’s from the trip?

  • The importance of storytelling/celebrating and shouting about entrepreneurial/start up successes 
  • The importance of having a flagship, internationally recognised event such as Web Summit in bringing together tech entrepreneurs from across the globe
  • The importance of having an organisation that can bring the various ecosystem members together under a single “brand” to champions the ecosystem and any subsequent development work
  • How creativity must be allowed to flourish and challenge the status quo. We saw this on a big scale with Start-up Lisboa and Factory Lisbon but, also on the smaller scale with Jack the Maker

For us, it was great to see how disruptive developments can help drive innovation and community join up in an area. We look forward to seeing what continues to develop within Cheltenham.

Another huge thank you to our hosts Factory and to everyone we met along the way.

Adeus for now, Lisbon.


CyNamInvest02- Yes! You’ve got funding… now what?

In September 2022, we hosted our second investor event. CyNamInvest02 was part of an ongoing series of events and explored the realities a post investment world for founders, entrepreneurs and investors.

During the event, we heard from founders who discussed their their investment journeys and their realities of working with investors. We also heard from a range of other companies, from start ups and rapidly growing SME’s to established investors who also shared their experiences of funding rounds and their top tips for a successful investment process.

HCR, our headline sponsor from the event have answered all questions asked from the audience via Slido on the night. Tim Ward, a panellists from the investor panel has answered them to help continue the conversation. Take a look below and stay tuned for updates about CyNamInvest03.

When should you start thinking about creating an employee options pool?

It is never too early – if the business is successful and its value increases, so do the cost of options, but bear in mind there is a two-year qualifying period to get the tax break. An employee options pool attracts the key staff without you having to pay bonuses and links them to the right objectives that will help grow the business and its value. You should put aside what is agreed with your investor – possibly up to 15% – and maybe grant these over time as and when you recruit the right people or those you have, have proven their worth.

At what stage should founders and management teams start thinking about the next funding round or exit?

With so much uncertainty in the current climate, it is always better to be able to turn cash down than be desperate for it – if you are, you will never attract the best terms. Before exiting, you need to have a growth plan and be ready to progress it – you don’t want to receive offers without an understanding or agreement as to what can be done. So before you close a round, you should be preparing for the next.

How should investors be supportive in a rough patch? What to do if you have a rough patch?

It depends on the terms agreed, but founders should not be so onerous that they give an investor ultimate control at an early-stage business. Hiding issues will break trust so if something isn’t working, explain why and work collaboratively. I have often seen investors push out timeframes and put in a short term cashflow loan – this may leave founders diluted for the interim but they can always agree a follow-on i.e., if there is emergency funding to invest in further down the line and on the same terms.

What sort of due diligence will investors do on founders and what should you do on investors?

Investors, if sophisticated, will ask you to warrant a questionnaire so do not hide mistakes and bad deals – these will be known and if they find out about it, it can not only break the trust but trigger legal consequences. For founders, talk to other companies who have also received investment and ask candid questions. When speaking with investors directly, establish how supportive they can be, what doors they can open and who can they introduce you to. It’s important to game plan different outcomes at the outset.

What makes cybersecurity unique compared to other investments say in Ecommerce?

The cybersecurity market is a growing one, especially in a technology-driven business society – accelerated by the pandemic – where advancements in tech are growing exponentially. Investing in cybersecurity is certainly a necessary step and as for founders consider a) that cybersecurity is a specialist narrow field so produce has to be focused and b) how you can be different in a crowded space of providers.


Bournside Cyber Day

There’s nothing quite like inspiring 300 enthusiastic students and teaching them about the wonderful world of cyber security!

We were thrilled to host our first cyber day at Bournside school in Cheltenham and help inspire 300 of their enthusiastic year 7 students! With the help of our community and an awesome group of industry pro’s, we gave the students a flavour of the cyber security industry through a range of interactive activities and workshops.

We had a total of 8 companies join us to run sessions, with activities ranging from lock picking and writing phishing emails, to real life flying drones! We also had a visit from the DigiBus which was parked outside on the school campus. The students loved it!

Our cyber days wouldn’t be possible without the help of our community, so a huge thank you to all the industries that supported us. CACI, BAE Systems, Cyber First, North Green Security, Amiosec, DigiBus, Gemba Advantage, Cybsafe

And of course, another huge thank you to Bournside school for hosting us. It was great to see so many of your students excited about a possible career in the cyber industry. We think Bournside may be home to a lot of future cyber entrepreneurs!

If you would like to get involved with any of our future cyber days, please get in touch with us!


Inspiring Gloucestershire Women in Tech 2022

Here at CyNam, we understand the importance of celebrating the female talent we have in the Gloucestershire cyber tech region. We we’re delighted to be able highlight some of this talent by teaming up with our friends over at Bamboo Technology, Savient and Hub8 to run our ‘Inspiring Gloucestershire Women in Tech 2022’ campaign.

In the weeks leading up to International Women’s Day 2022, we put a call to action out to our community asking people to nominate someone inspiring to them within the Gloucestershire cyber tech industry. We were delighted with the response we received, and the kind words included within the nominations.

Congratulations to everyone who features in the list below. We’re delighted to be able to give recognition to the incredible work you’re doing.

Katie Roden- CGI

Rachel Richardson- Logiq Consulting

Jessica Barder- PinPoint Media

Annys Samuel- Sopra Steria

Emilia Edwards- Lockheed Martin

Gemma Moore- Cyberis

Olena Whatley- Claranet Ltd

Beth Moodley- Claranet Ltd

Sian Ellison- Claranet Ltd

Anna Lythgoe- Anna Lythgoe Photography

Helen Cookson- Claranet Ltd

Julie Deane- Northrop Grumman Corporation 

Sarah Wakefield – Claranet Ltd

Vicky Newby- Claranet Ltd

Corinna Elliot- Claranet Ltd

Emily Mann- Claranet Ltd

Vicky Newby-  Claranet Ltd

Ruth Llewellyn- Claranet Ltd

Ellen Morgan- Claranet Ltd

Alison Steadman- Claranet Ltd

Sarah Davey- Claranet Ltd

Aysha Marty- BAE Systems

Lauren Astell- Red Maple Technologies

Jess Booth- Salus

Katie CoxOriginal Consultants Ltd ·

Hannah Weaving- Savient Limited

Carrie-Ann Murphy- Optimising IT

Pranith Accapanda- Gloucestershire College

Charlie Haward- Optimising IT

Melanie Vinton- Horsebridge Network Systems

Sarah James- Savient Ltd

Sophie James- Savient Ltd

Gwynneth Kempster- Savient Ltd

Emilia Edwards- Lockheed Martin  

Anne-Marie Rocca- Sopra Steria

Chani Martin- M&M Marketing and Merchandise

Lindsay Babbage- Datasource Recruitment

Emily Smith- Datasource Recruitment

Catherine Rooney- Danzen

Eleanor Upson- ORNA Inc

Talea La Gard- Hub8

Sarah Kingham

Okafor Sandra- University of the West of England

Barbara Mabombo- Bamboo Technology Group

April Trigg- Brace Creative Agency

Ellen Smith- Bamboo Technology Group Ltd

Gill H- Public Sector

Illyana Mullins- Hub8

                                                 Congratulations everyone!