SME Member Spotlight | Worldr

  • techUK techUK
    Friday18Sep 2020
    Opinions

    Following a grant from Innovate UK, we caught up with founder of Worldr, Max Buchan, learning why they put customers at the heart of secure communication platforms.

Who are Worldr?

Worldr is an intelligent and secure team communication software. In 2019, we were trying to figure out why most large firms weren’t using specific communication platforms.

It turned out that the reasons came down to three main questions:

1) Where is communication data stored

2) How is it encrypted?

3) Who owns the private keys?

We then went about building a communication system to rival the most popular platforms, but that is deployed locally into each customer’s private cloud or hardware server in order to completely eliminate the third-party risk.

What are some of the markets you are currently working in?

Our beachhead is naturally the UK, though we have almost 100 additional Beta customers between Brazil and Singapore.

Having also secured our first institutional level client in the United States, we will be building out our presence there more aggressively going into the New Year.

How do you differ from other communication platforms?

Normally when you send a message, make a call or share a file, the data is passed through third-party servers. Having thousands if not hundreds of thousands of different companies’ data in one place represents a significant attack vector and operational risk.

We are one of the first technologies to enable seamless collaboration to rival Slack or Microsoft Teams, but with the security of an in-house application.

You’ve recently been awarded a Grant from Innovate UK. Could you tell us a bit more about this, and share any advice for SME's looking to secure a simialr grant.

It was clear to us that the SmartGrant from InnovateUK is fiercely competitive, and even more so now given the current economic climate. We therefore sought as much advice on the matter as possible.

The most helpful bit of advice we received when applying was to understand how quickly your product can be commercialised after the completion of your project.

Clearly the government wants to build the next generation of highly scalable UK homegrown companies. Compared to VCs whose ROI would be the companies’ valuation, the government’s ROI is indirectly massive job creation.

In this way, I believe that the project still needs to have the same focused aim of genuine growth which one could liken to those that are privately financed. (We have the benefit of being privately and publicly funded).

Making this clear in your application, alongside an unparalleled awareness of the market you operate in, is paramount.

The final point is a firm understanding of the sorts of IP you could generate during the project and feasibly how protectable it could be. We worked with a specialist IP attorney before applying so were able to demonstrate the direction we would be going towards accruing IP.

What's been the inpact of Covid-19 for communication platforms? Are we going to continue to see a dramatic shift in how we interact as workplace teams moving forwards?

From what I understand having had this conversation with our larger users, is that the operational knock-on to companies has come in two waves. The initial wave was that of complete uncertainty and an understandable amount of panic. In March/April, companies were only focused on surviving.

To this end, it is perhaps fair to say that regulatory frameworks may have been slightly relaxed in such extraordinary circumstances. In this way, bankers, lawyers and other professionals were using any tool

However, six months have elapsed and there is now a more concerted return to a business as usual approach. To this end, with regulatory frameworks also bouncing back, it will no longer be acceptable for these professionals to be communicating in questionable platforms both in terms of security and also in terms of abiding by data retention and GDPR policies.

As a communication software company currently launching publicly, it will be extremely interesting to see how this next chapter unfolds, and we hope to be able to help a lot of companies navigate such uncertainly with this brand-new technology.

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