Avertro just turned two. These are some of the real moments from our second year.

Avertro Team in August 2021

If you’re wondering what happened in year one, I wrote about it last year.

5th September 2020

“Oh s***, we’re a year old,” I thought to myself. “It’s a Saturday, so we can’t really have a team meeting to celebrate.”

“Should probably post something on social media. No one will see it because it’s the weekend. But hey, the least we can do is mark the occasion officially.”

Today is R U OK Day, so I’m asking myself if I’m really ok.

Photo by Thomas Rey on Unsplash

Team member: Ian, are you ok? I feel like you ask everyone else if they’re ok. But I don’t know if they ever ask you back. So, I’m asking.

Me: You know there’s always something bothering me. And you likely know what’s bothering me right now. But I’m ok. Thank you for asking.

I’m grateful that I have this conversation with multiple Avertro team members regularly. There are a few who make it a point ask me how I’m doing. I appreciate you asking.

I always…

There is no shortage of people wanting to break into the industry, so how do you stand out?

Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash

The unicorn

A few years ago, I hired someone into our team at one of my previous employers. Despite having zero commercial cybersecurity experience yet wanting to break into the industry, they weren’t sure they wanted the job.

Today, they are still at that company, but in a different team doing the role they ultimately wanted.

I looked for the cybersecurity line items in the NSW budget so you don’t have to

Initial thoughts

Despite the recent release of the NSW Government’s updated Cyber Security Strategy, very little cyber has actually made it into the budget. While the budget includes $500 million of additional funding allocated to the $2.1 billion Digital Restart Fund, only about $30 million in total appears to have been allocated to cyber.

Allocating 6% of what is supposedly a digital transformation spend to cyber is not proportionate to the cyber risk that the NSW Government is exposed to on a daily basis. …

I’ve been asked by a number of people how I do this, so here’s a few tips.

On stage at Antler Demo Day 2019 in Sydney

I’ve delivered more than a thousand presentations over the years. Some for small audiences, and occasionally for thousands of people. This article isn’t about the act of doing a presentation. That is a whole other topic for another time. While the delivery of a presentation is a big part of it, the world’s best presenter wouldn’t be very effective if they were given bad content to deliver.


The very first thing I make sure I’m clear on, is the audience. What’s their background…

I looked for the cybersecurity line items in the budget so you don’t have to

Initial thoughts

This budget continues the historical trend of spending a significant amount on national security, which includes cybersecurity, but having most of the money directed towards the government’s own departments.

We cannot be cyber resilient as a nation without a stronger ecosystem, which includes businesses of all sizes, as well as a healthy amount of sovereign capability in the form of technology and solution providers.

It is time that the government recognises that we are stronger when the ecosystem is properly supported and allocates more funding…

Want to give yourself the best chance to land that job? Make sure you nail these.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I’ve personally interviewed more candidates for open roles at Avertro in the past year than the previous 10 combined, such is the nature of being a startup founder that doesn’t have the luxury of deferring to a recruitment team.

We’re currently hiring for a marketing specialist and have been overwhelmed by the response, receiving over 150 applications. We’ve arrived at our shortlist of the top three candidates; we could hire any of them and they would do a great job.

Here’s what they all…

How people answer this question tells you more than you may realise.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

I’m not a recruitment professional, yet it’s always been part of my job. As a startup CEO, hiring the right people is critical to our success.

Avertro is just over a year old now. In that time, I’ve reviewed more than a thousand LinkedIn profiles and CVs, and interviewed close to a hundred people for our open roles. In my 20-year cybersecurity career, that number is much higher.

The Question

There are a few questions candidates are advised to be prepared for, and the most important question is one of…

How can you ensure you are really helping instead of virtue signalling?

Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

Preamble: I run a cybersecurity startup, so the introduction focuses on the Aussie cybersecurity angle to set informed context. The rest of this article however, could be applied to any B2B startup.


CyRise Demo Day for cohort 4 delivered on its promise last week. I thought it was fantastic, and I hope the companies who are now officially fellow CyRise portfolio companies get the support they ask for. …

Avertro just turned one. These are some of the real moments from our first year.

Photo credit: Syaf Djamil

5th September 2019

Antler representative: “Alright, Ian and Roman. Who’s going to do the driving on the laptop?”

Me: “Roman can. CTO’s job.”

We laughed. There we were, sitting in a meeting room on level 8 at Tank Stream Labs within the Sydney Startup Hub.

Cyber Risk. Cybersecurity. Business. Tech. Entrepreneur. CEO at Avertro. Former CTO at McAfee Asia Pacific.

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