An Indigenous Australian Army veteran who’s built a successful tech startup over the last six years has spun out a cyber security company with the ambition of one day launching it on the ASX.

Kieran Hynes is a Worimi man from the Newcastle region who spent 13 years as an Army officer, dealing with military tech, from communications to satellite systems, and classified system design.

He has a Masters in Science and IT and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra. After leaving the military, he spent more than a decade in IT and cyber security working for leading companies such as Telstra, Fujitsu, IBM and Dell.

Hynes founded the tech company Willyama Services in 2016 and this week launched the subsidiary Willyama Cyber, with ACT chief minister Andrew Barr openings its Canberra HQ this week.

Willyama is a Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) cyber provider, supplying critical cyber security services to Defence and the wider defence industry supply chain.

It now has more than 50 staff, with offices in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, and Hynes is committed to providing training opportunities for young Indigenous people who are severely underrepresented among IT graduates.

“Willyama has been able to assist by providing real jobs, culturally sensitive mentoring and training opportunities to enable their prosperous futures in our industry,” he said.

“Many veterans find it difficult to transition from military to civilian careers, especially those who entered from a young age and Indigenous people are highly underrepresented in the IT sector, so I formed Willyama to try and support both groups.

“Willyama Services is dedicated to Indigenous employment opportunities, while also supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses. This won’t change.”

Hynes said he wanted to separate the two businesses under the Willyama brand to provide more defined offerings for customers and the Indigenous community.

“By spinning off Willyama Cyber, we will have a business that will focus solely on enhancing the resilience and security posture of Australia with cyber security expertise drawing on Indigenous and veteran workforce and influence,” he said.

“We are providing increasing levels of assistance to Australian organisations and those wanting to operate in the Australian market by providing our offerings in cyber protections and managing classified information.”

Talking to the Startup Daily show this week, Hynes said his ambition for the company is to take it all the way to IPO.

“Willyama Cyber has already got the largest Defence contract for cyber security and the intent is to grow that so we’re the national leader in the space,” he said.

“And ideally, create the first ASX-listed Indigenous business.”

Chief minister Barr said the territory was delighted by the growth of the company and its focus on creating jobs for Indigenous Australians, creating more than 15 Indigenous jobs.

“Congratulations to Willyama Services on the launch of their new cyber business in one of our fastest growing industry sectors. It’s great to see a company committed to creating jobs, particularly for those within our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community,” he said.

In 2021, Willyama launched the Indigenous Business Precinct in Canberra, which now houses several Indigenous businesses including Indigenous creative agency IB.Creative.

This article was originally published on Startup Daily.