Alex bootstrapped Datablink from Brazil to $7.5 million addressing cyber fraud. He discusses the trends in his current markets – Brazil and East Asia – as he gets ready to penetrate other markets.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as to Datablink.
Alexandre Cagnoni: I’m was born in Brazil and graduated with a Computer Engineering degree. Datablink is a Cyber Security company that was founded in Brazil in 2007. At that time, we were called BrToken. We targeted the authentication and transaction signing market. Our main focus was the financial market at that time. We apply the concept that in order to get security, you don’t really need to make things hard for the user. We started with a big customer in Brazil.
Then in 2014, we decided to become an international company focusing first in markets similar to the Brazilian market. We opened a head office in Virginia and changed the name to Datablink. We started expanding to the international market through the US. We are a bootstrapped company. It was a real challenge, but so far, we’re doing very well.
Sramana Mitra: Does your engineering still take place in Brazil?
Alexandre Cagnoni: We have two offices in Brazil. We have a sales office and a R&D center in Brazil. We have software products and hardware products as well. When we started developing the hardware products back in 2008, we wanted to make sure that the quality was the one that we wanted. We wanted to be really close to the production. There’s a lot of intellectual property there. There’s a patent in the technology that we use. We opened a small factory. Also, we started developing the software products in the same area. We also have a R&D center in India.
Sramana Mitra: What kind of customers do you cater to?
Alexandre Cagnoni: We divide the market into three segments. The first one would be the financials. That’s how we started. We work with banks that are doing transactions through mobile banking or Internet banking. We work with them to prevent transaction fraud where a typical fraud attempt would involve things such as wiring money out of your account to someone else’s account. Because of the previous experience we had, we decided to focus on this area.
The second market is corporate security. The corporate security market prevents security breaches by adding advanced authentication. Now we know that most of the corporates are not limited to the local network. People work remotely. You have cloud-based applications. People are on the road. They work from home. How do you protect all those endpoints from being hacked? How do you prevent unauthorized actions? This is another area that we work on where we have a large variety of customers from healthcare and lawyer offices.
Just one year ago, we started a segment which is the e-commerce and card-based payment. The idea is to guarantee that the credit card or debit card is used by the right person. This is one of the biggest issues that we see right now. Especially when you’re traveling, you’re using your credit card. If your credit card is declined, how is the decision to decline or accept payment or purchase over the Internet made? We use mobile solutions to prevent unauthorized use of your credit or debit card.