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.


Gloucestershire College and UWE Bristol join forces as CyNam Academic Sponsors 2022/2023

We are pleased to announce that our long-term academic partner Gloucestershire College has continued its sponsorship support of CyNam for another year.

Not only has Gloucestershire College pledged to continue its support of CyNam into 2023, but we are delighted to announce that the University of West of England (UWE) has partnered with Gloucestershire College as our academic sponsors for the coming year.


“We’re thrilled to sponsor CyNam for a third year running, and to further strengthen our partnership with UWE Bristol in what promises to be an exciting year. Our joint NCSC-accredited cyber degree apprenticeship continues to prove invaluable to employers and we look forward to launching the new Digital and Technology Solutions (DATS) degree apprenticeship in September 2023.”


“CyNam is a key driver in the region’s cyber skills growth agenda and our sponsorship reflects the continued alignment of our strategies and mission to attract, develop and retain talent in Gloucestershire.”


The key drivers for Gloucestershire College and UWE in further developing their relationship with CyNam have been the recent successes in engaging young people in not only the Cyber Apprenticeship Degree program but promoting the virtues of the level 3 & 4 apprenticeships too.


This year the plan is to further bolster the communications to employers about the value of Level 3 & 4 apprenticeships and upcoming new courses available as apprenticeships such as Software and Networking and DevOps.


And the effort doesn’t just stop at apprenticeships and young people – the Glos Col/UWE offer is open to more mature members who may be looking to reskill and retrain.


UWE is recognized by NCSC as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education and is committed to developing cyber security education across the region, through our teaching, research, outreach and industry engagement. We offer our MSc Cyber Security and BSc Cyber Security and Digital Forensics courses in Bristol, as well as our BSc Information Technology (Top Up) and our BSc Cyber Security Technical Professional Degree Apprenticeship that both run in Cheltenham in conjunction with Gloucestershire College. We host a variety of events in the region to help upskill teachers and industry, as well as outreach events for school students including our Unlock Cyber events and our support of the CyberFirst Schools initiative.


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!


Work Experience 2022

They say “it takes a village to raise a child.” We say “it takes a community to inspire a young person.” No truer word was said as CyNam took on a work experience student for the first time! We were delighted to be joined by Callum from Barnwood Park School.


As a hybrid and tiny team of five people, we knew it would be a challenge conveying the breadth of our industry in just five days, heavy workloads, as well as ensuring the experience was as fulfilling as possible for the student (ahhhh, ok – maybe ourselves too!).


So, we designed a timetable of activities to do over the five days. As well as this, we reached out our community to see where they could help spend time with a student, talk about what they do and (hopefully) inspire them to consider a future in cyber and technology.


So, what did we get up to with our community?


  • Talking all things pen testing with Chris from Synack
  • Discussing the evolution of a developing investment community with Abby Taylor
  • Dan Humphries from Sopra Steria shared his journey into IT 
  • What makes a kick-ass community spirit with the team at Hub8 – huge shout outs to Cam, Tom and the Hub8 team.
  • Meeting successful tech entrepreneurs like Martyn Gill from ORNA Inc


But it has to be said, our favourite day was spent at the Infrastar offices in Gloucester, where Glenn Griffin and his team very generously gave up a whole day of their time to spend with us (and fed us cakes and gave us loads of merch!). We watched a network scanning software run through the office networks and we infiltrated a printer and printed off a smiley face – y’know – just for fun! 


Finally, Glenn arranged for an intro to astrophysicist Rob from Braided Communications who has developed a new communication based on deep space communication tools for astronauts, which he demoed.


Our community were brilliant in coming together to support Callum, and we can’t thank all the organisations that helped us enough. If you would like to support an enthusiastic student, please get in touch with us!

But, don’t just take the great feedback from us. Here’s Callum’s feedback about his work experience week:






Over 25 schools in the South West register to become an NCSC CyberFirst School. 

The CyberFirst Schools initiative, from  the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)  – a part of GCHQ – was in full swing this month, as members of the delivery consortium headed into key events to showcase the benefits of joining the programme to computer science teachers across the South West. 

The consortium, made of Raytheon, Tech Spark, The South West Cyber Security Cluster and CyNam, attended the Festival of Computer Science in Plymouth and set up industry and schools engagement events in Bristol and Gloucestershire to collect Expressions of Interest from schools and industry partners in the region. 

Over 25 schools across the South West have now registered their interest in applying for the CyberFirst Schools programme, which officially recognises schools and colleges that demonstrate first-rate cyber security education. If they are all successful in their applications, this will more than double the number of   CyberFirst schools and colleges in the South West looking to bolster their computer science curriculums, teaching and student experiences. Successful schools will also enjoy continuous professional development for teachers, as well as a series of bespoke activities for students tailored to each school’s needs – created by industry partners and  supported by a team of CyberFirst ambassadors. 

Following an initial pilot in Gloucestershire, the CyberFirst Schools initiative was launched by the NCSC in 2020 to encourage collaboration between local schools, the NCSC, national and local companies and organisations who share the aim of encouraging young people to engage with computer science and the application of cyber security in everyday technology. 

 In 2021 it was further extended to include secondary schools and colleges in Northern Ireland, the South West of England (Dorset, Cornwall Devon, Somerset & Wiltshire) and the North East of England (Durham, Tyne & Wear, Northumberland). 

The South West consortium have been awarded the pilot contract for delivering the CyberFirst Schools initiative in the South West of England. 

On behalf of the NCSC, they will manage the assessment and evaluation of CyberFirst School applications; the growth of the CyberFirst Schools community in the area, and help facilitate engagement between industry and schools in the region to enable e-mentoring and work experience. 

A special mention must be made to the CyberFirst Schools volunteers, who have been recently supporting the consortium and who are responsible for driving the CyberFirst Schools programme for the last few years. Without the efforts of the CyberFirst Ambassadors, and specifically the expertise of Rebekkah Bishop (kindly volunteering on behalf of organisation CACI). This collaboration has given real momentum to the project and we are looking forward to making some real impact in furthering cyber education throughout 2022.


CyNam Strategy 2022 and Beyond.

As a community impact organisation, it’s of the utmost importance to us to share with our community the activities and initiatives that we intend to embark on for the near future.
That’s why we have the pleasure of sharing with you our strategic objectives for the next three years.

We have created these objectives over the past three months, based on feedback from community stakeholders from across the breadth of the ecosystem, the guiding principles of UKC3, the Local Industrial Strategy and the National Cyber Strategy.

We hope we have identified and prioritised what matters most to this community and what collectively we must do to attempt to solve the challenges in the cyber/tech sector in Gloucestershire and beyond to ensure a prosperous and safe future for all.

In the strategy, you can see a non-exhaustive list of initiatives that we intend to pursue to achieve the objectives and what it may cost to execute them. As a non-profit organisation we hope to raise funds from our continued project and pilot work, as well as generous donations from sponsors who wish to pay an active role in achieving these objectives.

Read the strategy here

The CyNam Team


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!

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Inspirational Apprentices Announced!

CyNam’s Inspirational Apprentice List 2022 

There’s nothing we love more here at CyNam than celebrating community success stories! 

To help celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2022, we put a call to action out to our community asking for nominations for inspirational apprentices studying in the cyber/tech field in Gloucestershire. We we’re blown away by the quality of the nominations and delighted to see so much apprentice talent in the region. 

Below is a full list of the apprentices nominated featuring fantastic testimonials from employers and the apprentices themselves!

Congratulations to all nominees. We’re delighted to help showcase your talent and efforts. 

Nicander White, Atkins: 

Nicander is absolutely exceptional. He gets fully stuck into all of the opportunities that we send his way, demonstrating all of our Atkins values flawlessly whilst also being an active STEM ambassador, engaging with local schools to encourage more local young people to take up STEM related careers. He is constantly learning new skills through his degree programme and bringing fresh perspectives to our meetings and projects. So much so, we forget he is actually an ‘apprentice’! 

Taylor Watson, Cyber Security Associates: 

Taylor has always demonstrated a lot of potential for growth and I believe he has the drive to succeed at anything he sets his mind to. He continuously chases excellence which is further evidenced by his impeccable academic record and the industry certifications he has acquired. In recent years he’s also taken a more proactive role in mentoring and teaching individuals, sharing knowledge and helping anyone who asks with their cybersecurity education and general technological safety regardless of their current understanding. I am proud to nominate Taylor on the basis of his hard work, friendly demeanor and for his future growth. 

Tyler Campbell, Hub8: 

Since Tyler has joined Hub8 he has been an instrumental part of the team. He goes above and beyond to provide support to the hub8 team as well as with our customers, consistently getting positive feedback from our members. He has shown huge amounts of self-motivation quickly taking over increasingly important tasks such as invoicing as well as playing a key role in the implementation of an entirely new back-end system. 

Andrew Carr, University of Gloucestershire: 

Andrew Carr has been studying for a BSc (Hons) in Cyber Security at the University of Gloucestershire, as an apprentice since September 2019. Andrew is no stranger to learning while working as he has achieved various industry qualifications in his own time since he started working in IT. Andrew is also the Course Representative and regularly discuss aspects of the course with the academic staff. 

Natalia Tarnawa, Hub8: 

Natalia has been an absolute pleasure to work with and mentor. She has always jumped on any task given to her with a smile and has added value to Hub8 and the team in many ways. We often get comments from our members complimenting her exceptional customer service, professionalism, and friendliness. Natalia really does make my job as mentor easy, and she has even taught me some new things! 

Obi Newman, ORNA: 

Obi’s work ethic and professionalism on such young shoulders has exceeded expectation, quickly becoming a valued member of the ORNA team. As such, we firmly believe that Obi is truly an inspirational apprentice for his peers and those starting their apprenticeship journey and look forward to continuing our working relationship with him.

Dan Humphries, Sopra Steria: 

My apprenticeship with Sopra Steria has been one of the best opportunities I’ve had and I’m extremely grateful to everyone involved. I have learned so much over the programme and I’m looking forward to integrating myself into my account once the apprenticeship is complete. My hope is that I will be able to bring everything I have learned and experienced to make a real difference in the workplace, becoming an asset to my account at Sopra Steria. 

Cameron Carter, Hub8: 

Having only entering the cyber industry less than a year ago, Cameron has already made a huge impact to his companies online marketing platforms and the people around him. Cameron joined the Hub8 team as a Marketing apprentice in mid-2021 and has been keen to learn from day 1. Cam is brilliantly self-sufficient and always thinks of an outcome before asking questions, a proactive and productive approach to learning! 

Charlotte, Coacto: 

Charlotte thrives to emit a positive energy in both her professional and personal life and it has been highly recognised within our team. Since joining the team in April 2021, Charlotte has remained enthusiastic throughout, never falling short for projects that she may be working on to grow her blossoming skillset. As a young adult stepping into the technology industry with no specific experience, Charlotte has shown incredible willingness to learn and utilises the resources available to feed her hunger for knowledge. She is an incredible asset to the team. 

Alexander Cameron, University of Gloucestershire: 

Throughout the degree apprenticeship Alexander Cameron has worked closely between the University of Gloucestershire and Leonardo, balancing his time between a combination of integrated study and work within the Defence and Cyber sectors. 

Jonathan Brindley, Sopra Steria: 

Jonathan’s success is driven by an obvious passion for helping everyone from colleagues to customers and is underpinned by the way he continually stretches his development, taking on complex tasks and demonstrating his talent for translating theoretical knowledge into practical solutions. Jonathan has attracted a company award for his work on an IT transformation project for the NHS and has achieved promotio

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Martyn Gill named as finalist in Ex-British Forces Business Awards.

Good news!

Co-founder of our strategic cyber risk management partner, Wembley Partners and co-founder of the newly incorporated ORNA Inc. Martyn Gill has been named a finalist at next month’s Ex-British Forces Business Awards in the Entrepreneur of the Year category.

With over 15 years as a cyber intelligence professional, leading teams in delivering technical solutions to mission critical projects across defence, government and other Critical National Infrastructure sectors for BAE Systems AI, Deloitte and GCHQ.

Martyn co-founded Wembley Partners in 2019 specialising in intelligence-led cyber security solutions for Small and Medium businesses, which has seen the development of the world first dedicated cyber incident management SaaS platform and cyber-tech company, ORNA Inc. Martyn served for 12 years as a Electronic Warfare operator, deploying on multiple operations to Afghanistan and supported the development of UK UAV operations at NSA Georgia.

Great to see ex-service personnel and CyNam members being recognised for the fantastic work they have done and are doing.

Good luck Martyn!

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Bamboo Technology join CyNam as Digital Transformation Partner

CyNam are delighted to announce a brand new sponsor – Bamboo Technology will be joining us as Digital Transformation Partner.

Lorrin White of Bamboo Technology quotes:

– “Bamboos mission, as a connectivity, IT and software solutions provider is to shape and develop business futures by realising the full potential of ICT. Cynam is helping to make Cheltenham the cyber hub of the UK and the partnership with Bamboo helps to promote and educate relevant and resilient businesses transformation in a digital landscape that continues to evolve. The teams share an ethos of networking, innovating and collaborating to instil best practice into customer and county and we look forward to sharing talent, culture and community to continually improve our positions and future prospects.”

Richard Yorke, Managing Director of CyNam says:

“We’re delighted to announce Bamboo Technology Group Ltd as CyNam’s Digital Transformation partner. Successful digital transformation (DTX) is underpinned by good #cybersecurity and we are keen to develop the ecosystem to include more organisations with #DTX at the heart of their business wanting to tap into the wealth of cyber expertise the CyNam community offer. As a locally based company leading the way with #thoughtleadership on both fronts, our partnership with Bamboo will enable us to engage the DTX community and drive growth for the cyber sector.”