The year 2020 was a new record year for cybersecurity investment in the UK, infosecurity businesses raised over £821m across 73 deals, according to Icon Corporate Finance, which has a major office in Bristol.
Cybersecurity has been a major industry success in the UK in recent years, attracting large amounts of private and state-backed investment. The sector is now worth an estimated £8.9 billion, employing around 50,000 people. A large part of the success is driven out of several tech cluster regions outside London. Cheltenham, home of GCHQ, UK’s intelligence and security organisation and the National Cyber Security Centre (NSSC), is one of the fastest growing reginal ecosystems for cybersecurity in the UK.
Chris Dunning-Walton, founding chairman of cyber sector support organisation CyNam and Director of cyber sector recruitment company Infosec People, said: “Cheltenham and the broader UK South-West region are home to an outstanding concentration of knowledge capital and a thriving high-tech ecosystem. Industry heavyweights such as Microsoft, IBM, Apple, AWS all have local offices. Their staff are rubbing shoulders with GCHQ and NCSC employees as well as local start-up and innovation leaders. Local accelerators programs like NCSC’s own Cyber Accelerator and Hub8 are providing entrepreneurial support and workspace. The Cyber Central campus initiative (part of the government-funded Golden Valley Development) is aiming to bring together business, academia and GCHQ and NCSC backed innovation programs. All that provides a highly attractive business environment, resulting in the highest density of cybersecurity companies outside London.
Two of the region’s success stories include Cheltenham-based Ripjar. This data analytics and AI for real-time risk protection business was founded by former members of GCHQ, and recently raised $36.8m in funding; Bristol-based Immersive Labs, cybersecurity training solutions, backed by Summit Partners and Goldman Sachs, draws heavily on Cheltenham talent; Deep3, secure app development, was acquired by CACI in Oct 2019.