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Leeds cyber business expands to Cheltenham as town's cyber credentials grow

3 June 2021
The Business Magazine article image for: Leeds cyber business expands to Cheltenham as town's cyber credentials grow

A Leeds cyber security consultancy has opened a new office in the Hub8 innovation space in Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter. Pentest People's expansion follows a record year of growth that generated a 60 per cent revenue increase for the start-up.

Organisations commission Pentest People’s cyber security experts to test their websites, applications and IT systems for any weaknesses that could allow cyber criminals to steal information, damage IT systems, or hold data to ransom. The company has a growing number of staff who possess qualifications and penetration testing experience approved by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which has attracted additional clients from the public sector.

Led by sales director, Anthony Harvey and technical director, Gavin Watson, Pentest People has grown to more than seventy employees within three years, with ten new members of staff added this year alone. The company has also taken on apprentices to provide them with the professional experience and qualifications to start successful careers in cyber security.

A senior team leader will work in the new Cheltenham office alongside computer science graduates and apprentices hired from the local area, overseen by Gavin Watson, and company co-founder, Andrew Mason, who also runs another start-up that was accepted onto the NCSC Cyber Incubator in Cheltenham.

Andrew Mason attributes the company’s rapid growth to the innovative solutions offered, including SecureGateway, which was developed by Pentest People at the start of lockdown and enables clients to maintain rigorous testing regimes even when consultants are unable to visit their premises in person.

The development of SecureGateway won the company two Digital City Awards 2021 for best innovation and best cyber security project of the year.

Andrew Mason said, “In March we took a larger office in Leeds to accommodate our growing team in the North. We now want to expand our operations and develop our people in a dedicated cyber security co-working space at the heart of the UK’s national centre for cyber security expertise, where knowledge can be shared and ideas can be cross-pollinated. This will benefit our clients and growing team in Leeds, as well as allowing us to recruit graduates and talented apprentices in the Cheltenham area who have a strong aptitude for cyber security.”

Bruce Gregory, Managing Director of Hub8, added: “We are delighted to welcome Pentest People to Hub8. Its proximity to GCHQ and links to leading academic centres, Cheltenham, and the wider region continue to attract the most ambitious and innovative companies in the cyber security space. It’s no coincidence that Cheltenham boasts eleven times the national average of cyber security companies. As a new local employer, we look forward to seeing Pentest People continuing to grow and thrive.”

Hub8 opened in September 2019.  Its mission is to curate the emergence of cyber tech businesses of the future and develop the UK’s cyber tech capabilities with Gloucestershire as its focal point.

Hub8 is supported CyNam (Cyber Cheltenham), a locally based community interest company whose network acts as a platform for ideas and collaboration among the cyber tech community


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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