Startup Focus: Idenprotect

We spoke to Craig McDermott, CEO and Founder of Idenprotect to get an insight how they're changing the future of the industry.

Startup Focus: Idenprotect

We spoke to Craig McDermott, CEO and Founder of Idenprotect to get an insight how they're changing the future of the industry.

Date: 25 January 2023
Author: FINTECH Circle

Idenprotect helps organisations solve their password and access pains. Their passwordless MFA and Secure Browser for mobile ensures that user passwords can never be compromised. 

How would you describe your business in one sentence?

Idenprotect develops identity-driven technology that makes the highest levels of security easy to adopt for regulated businesses and simple to use for employees to get access to their systems and data. We basically solve the password problem.

Tell us why your company is a game changer for our industry?

We eliminate the need for users to use passwords to access systems and data – its that simple. More importantly, there is a significant security benefit by removing the need for passwords. 

With over 80% of all successful data breaches that have taken place have been due to a password compromise and many victims within the FinTech sector, regulators and policy makers are reacting by focusing their efforts on ensuring supervised firms are managing their password risks by taking steps to protect themselves appropriately. 

Put simply, the way to eliminate this risk is to use a biomtric passwordless solution like Idenprotect with your existing IT systems.

Idenprotect has a track record in eliminating data breach risks that usually occur when a password is compromised. Our technology is used every day by thousands of users to ensure their safety when accessing corporate systems. We have a track record in solving these issues for our tier 1 banking customers to smaller financial services companies alike.

There are three big problems we help regulated businesses solve:

  1. How to secure their systems without relying on passwords — so businesses can increase security while decreasing the headaches caused by managing passwords
  2. How to deliver a better user experience to employees — so corporate users will be secure by default and can spend more time doing the things that really matter
  3. How to save money by simplifying the logon process and reducing administrative effort — So users are not left frustrated waiting for access rather than performing their job function and businesses are not spending significant amounts on IT support in managing and maintaining password resets and unlocks.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Idenprotect have helped some of the largest brands globally to become passwordless. Our key achievements include:

  • To be the first biometric-enabled Passwordless security solution that uses the secure chips inside today’s mobile devices for a true passwordless offering and solving the password problem.
  • Technical partnerships and integrations with the likes of Microsoft, Okta, Google and others.
  • Supplying global tier 1 banks with hundreds of thousands of licences to ensure their corporate users remain safe.
  • Creating the first identity-driven secure enterprise web browser that identifies the user first via the biometric before allowing access to websites.

And finally, for being recognised for our innovation within the sector by our peers

  • Best Authentication Solution 2020 – Highly Commended by SC Magazine
  • EU Horizons 2020 Gold Seal of Quality

What has been the greatest challenge leading a start-up so far?

There have been so many challenges along the way but one of the biggest challenges was winning the trust of our customers to get them to become passwordless. 

Being a cyber security start-up with the latest innovative solution is very rewarding but as we found a few years ago, many industry sectors, especially banking wasn’t quite ready to ditch the password. This new idea of operating without a password felt very strange to many people.

Sure, they saw the benefits and how life would be just fantastic without ever needing to use or remember a password, especially not having to go through very long processes to get a password reset but not needing a password…what!?

By having built a fantastic team here and through lots of planning and workshops with key customers we were able to overcome this hurdle and with so many high profile data breaches where the root cause of the issue was a password that had been socially engineered, phished or cracked, it then became easier to show not only the usability and cost benefits but also the security benefits of going passwordless.

In recent months, we have seen many more data breaches and now some of the leading security experts and government cyber security organisations are saying “go passwordless”.

We now see the regulators are also cracking down on the ability to manage risks associated with passwords and we predict that this will not slow down as passwordless becomes easier and easier to adopt.

What’s your typical day like?

  • Its usually a 6am start to pick up an messages overnight and to plan for the day ahead.
  • I will go to the gym for an hour as it gives me some thinking time whilst I work out
  • I’m then in the office for 8am or travelling to see customers and partners
  • I’m usually back home for 7pm (unless travelling) for some dinner and will spend some time with the family
  • I will then check up on any tasks before bedtime that would prevent me from sleeping!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from your fundraising journey?

We looked into institutional money from VCs but it wasn’t right for what I wanted to achieve and resulted in us turning down term sheets and offers. 

For me, business is about trust, relationships and integrity, I want our services to be for the customer and for the customer’s needs, not to satisfy the needs of others. 

One thing I promote a lot within the company is about putting the customer in the centre of everything we do, its something I am very passionate about. Without customer inputs, thoughts and feedback what would be the point of us existing.

I cant say we will never look at fundraising with a VC but from what I have experienced so far in regards to some of the VCs out there, its not been that impressive. We want to create a business that is sustainable, fit for purpose and services our customers in the correct way with honesty and integrity. I think we are achieving just that without external involvement.

Your advice to anyone starting out as an entrepreneur?

I have lots and lots of advice on top of the usual advice in regards to hire well, manage money well etc but I will say that ideas are 10 a penny, many people have great ideas but lack a sound business and go to market plan. 

Think about the problem you are solving and why should anyone care. Think about the whole picture or what I call the whole product, the whole customer journey from the initial phone call to rolling out your solution and supporting it. 

Don’t let anyone say you cant do it, always ask why and then ask why again. Be confident in what you do and what you want to achieve and don’t be afraid of changing your mind or your idea.

Starting out as an entrepreneur is hard, really hard and don’t think it gets easier. The more successful you become the harder the fall. Be optimistic, keep very focused and make sure you make time for yourself to relax and to take time out!

Craig McDermott, CEO and Founder of Idenprotect

You can connect with Craig McDermott on LinkedIn