The six founders set to Ignite cyber security

Plexal is pleased to reveal our Cyber Runway 2.0 Ignite programme to support exceptional cyber startup founders. We’ve built on our existing Cyber Runway, the largest cyber startup accelerator in the UK, and differed Ignite with a specific leadership enhancement focus – rather than that of the businesses.

We’ve chosen six ambitious founders to form the first Cyber Runway Ignite intake of innovative security talent from Plexal’s extensive cyber community, which has been built through programmes such as Cyber Runway, NCSC For Startups and LORCA.

With Cyber Runway Ignite, we aim to help the cohort upskill in areas that’ll enhance their leadership and subsequently grow their businesses to unlock prosperity for their employees and communities, inspiring other early-stage entrepreneurs in the process.

Leaders shared their personal experiences with Plexal during the assessment process, including everything from upbringing and how that’s shaped them through to career background. They also detailed their business ambitions, such as overcoming imposter syndrome and inspiring the local community as a role model, to product refinement and increasing users. We then used this information to develop a bespoke programme that will help the leaders to unlock their potential and achieve their aims.

The six founders on the Cyber Runway Ignite cohort are: 

  • Abu Sayed, Director, Daintta, the cyber security consultancy 
  • Ryan Heartfield, CTO and co-founder, Exalens, the AI incident detection platform
  • Nadia Kadhim,  CEO, Naq Cyber, the cyber security and data compliance solution
  • Melissa Chambers, CEO, Sitehop, the SafeVPN provider
  • Ben Graville, founder, Visible, the digital-self awareness tool
  • Chuck Teixeira, CEO, WCKD RZR, the automated data enablement solutions firm 

Cyber Runway Ignite will provide founders with mentoring, workshops and networking opportunities tailored to their goals, with business support from Plexal’s innovation services team, alongside the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) and Deloitte. The programme is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which also backs Cyber Runway.

Saj Huq, CCO and head of innovation at Plexal, said: “The UK’s most connected cyber community has been built by Plexal for years with active alumni from innovation programmes such as Cyber Runway, LORCA and NCSC for Startups. Now we’ve leveraged this network to discover and support the best of the best cyber leaders and champion them to reach new heights.

“The Cyber Runway Ignite launch is a continued part of our mission to close the gap between organisations – small and large, private and public, local and global – and unleash technology that can strengthen our national security and enhance our socioeconomic prosperity. We’re excited to work closely alongside these six founders and be a part of their growth journey.”  

Cyber minister, Julia Lopez, said: “As part of our multi-billion pound cyber strategy, we’re unleashing the potential of the UK’s top security talent to ensure they have the skills they need to successfully grow their business. Our investment in these tech founders will create new job opportunities and strengthen the country’s cyber defences.”