Cheltenham’s cyber network Cynam launches ecosystem manifesto

Cheltenham Cyber Central

CyNam, Cheltenham’s cyber cluster, has launched a new manifesto aimed at turbo-charging its entrepreneurial cyber ecosystem.

Richard Yorke, Managing Director at Cynam and Chair UKC3 – UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration, said: ““It’s time for us to stop talking so much about CyNam and our ecosystem in the abstract and instead talk much more about the specific achievements of our startups and entrepreneurs.”

The manifesto states that Cheltenham must learn to recognise its fast-growing success stories and celebrate them.

These success stories are the high growth companies that are paving the way for other startups, innovators and entrepreneurs in the region.

Cynam is inviting start-ups and businesses to read and sign it’s manifesto and help them develop the ecosystem.

Cheltenham Cyber Startup successes

Anatwine, a unique software as a service company that combines state of the art software with unique ecommerce skills. After raising $12m from Berlin-based e-commerce titan Zalando the firm merged with Tradebyte in 2021.

Aquilai, an anti-phishing provider with machine learning and natural language processing technology that stops all targeted email attacks, including business email compromise (BEC), spear phishing and impersonation attempts. Recently acquired by Egress.

Deep3, a recently acquired startup that provides secure by design application, cloud development, data engineering and digital transformation services to the cyber and national security sectors. Acquired by CACI in 2019.

Fasthosts, a professional web hosting, servers, and cloud solutions company, powered by UK data centres. In 2006 the business was sold to United Internet for £61 million.

Immersive Labs, cyber workforce optimization experts that equip, exercise, and evidence the human cyber abilities of entire workforces, preparing organisations to counter the latest cyber threats. Recently raised $70M in Series C funding, led by Insight Partners.

Ripjar, a data intelligence company that transforms global institutions’ ability to manage strategic risks. The firm raised €31 million in Series B funding from Long Ridge Equity Partners in 2020.

Secretsales, a UK discount fashion and beauty platform that was acquired by Cheltenham-based Lifestyle Retail Group (LRG) in 2020, and has gone on to raise £8.5m Series A led by Perwyn Growth Capital and supported by Belerion Capital.

Superdry, a UK branded clothing company, founded in Cheltenham, and owner of the Superdry label which floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2010. Superdry products combine vintage Americana styling with Japanese inspired graphics.

Synalogik,a pioneer in data aggregation and automation for discovering hidden risk over multiple disparate data sources. In early 2022 the company raised £3m in a Series A funding round.

Trust Stamp, a global provider of AI-powered identity services for use in multiple sectors including banking and finance, regulatory compliance, government, real estate, communications, and humanitarian services. Over £30M investment raised to date.

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What inspired the manifesto?

In December 2021 a delegation of 15 founders and stakeholders from Cheltenham’s cyber ecosystem travelled to Slush in Helsinki, a leading startup event in Finland.

The team went to discover why the Helsinki startup scene is blossoming and apply that knowledge to drive the Cheltenham startup scene.

They visited Maria 01, one of Europe’s largest start-up campuses which has been transformed from  an abandoned hospital. They also toured the new Oodi Library with the founding architect from ALA to hear about how public space can be carefully crafted to inspire future technologists and creatives from all backgrounds – a breathtaking concept, open to everyone.

They also met with UK and Finnish delegates at the British Ambassador’s residence to discuss how to encourage cross-border collaboration and cultural differences between the two nations.

But perhaps most notably, they hosted the inaugural ‘chltnhm_dialogues’ where they discussed the strengths and challenges of Cheltenham’s innovation economy and paired this with conversations from visiting key influencers from the Finnish and European technology industry.

The manifesto points out that successful startup clusters are built from the bottom-up, not the top-down.

They are created for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, re-investing their time and money to support their peers. This does not mean that other stakeholders do not play a role. Stakeholders within communities can be best categorised as either ‘Leaders’ or ‘Feeders’. Both are essential to the health and growth of a startup community.

Startup communities must be driven by the leaders (the founders and entrepreneurs). If not, misaligned incentives and perspectives fall in the way of successful growth. In Cheltenham, this is an open call to action to local founders, entrepreneurs, and angel investors.

The manifesto states: “We must work together as a community, take ownership of how we grow and embody the principles on which we want our ecosystem to operate ensuring that entrepreneurial success is within reach of everyone. We must support our collective drive and determination to succeed, and see the benefits of working collaboratively and sharing both our successes and failures to help, guide, and inspire one another. And we must do this in a way that embraces the value of the various ‘Feeders’ in our ecosystem, working collaboratively and in unison. In this sense, our tight-knit community should continue to embrace an open collaborative approach with a ‘pay-it-forward’ attitude. Those who have succeeded (and failed) must support others, provide mentoring and advice, and re-invest in our local community. If we all sit back and leave it to others, we will fail.”