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#Fit4Start: Passbolt, The Open Source Web-Based Password Manager

Weak, stolen and lost passwords are some of the biggest information security threats every organization faces. Startup Passbolt helps companies implement information security best practices by centralizing their passwords. The startup was part of the last edition of the Fit4Start acceleration programme. We asked Kevin Muller, Passbolt’s CEO to give us a deeper overview of his startup and innovative service.
(Featured Image: Cédric Alfonsi and Kevin Muller, Passbolt’s co-founders / Image Credit: Adel Fahem)
What is Passbolt?

80% of data breaches are due to poor password management policies. Weak, stolen and lost passwords are some of the biggest information security threats every organization faces. Moreover, it is estimated that each year over 125 million hours of productivity are lost due to password management problematics. Who has never been stuck in a project because they were not able to access the right password to get the job done?

Passbolt is an open source web based password manager designed for teams and businesses. It helps companies implement information security best practices by centralizing their passwords. It allows employees to access and share credentials securely, while managers can control and monitor the access rights. It is easy to use, secure, and respectful of privacy.

Passbolt is completely open source and has a free version that is currently used by more than 1000 companies worldwide. It can be installed in-house which is a major advantage for companies with high data ownership requirements.
What products/services do you offer?

Currently, Passbolt is completely free of use and we are focusing on collaborating with our community to develop the features that are important to our users. Most of them are related to the needs of enterprises such as LDAP integration, in-depth audit logs, etc.  It is very encouraging that, even though we have nothing to sell yet, some companies using Passbolt have made very generous donations to help us develop new features faster. It shows traction.

In the coming months we will start generating revenues with two offers, on top of the free community version: Passbolt pro and Passbolt cloud. Both will provide additional premium enterprise features, top notch support and a service level agreement. Passbolt pro will be the on-premises version, while Passbolt cloud will provide the software as a service for companies who don’t have the resources or infrastructure to host their own instance.

How do you differentiate from your competitors?

There are already big players in the market, but luckily for us we have a few advantages.

Our security model is designed around proven, open and interoperable standards such as OpenPGP.

All Passbolt code and documentation is open source and can be audited by anyone, offering an unprecedented level of transparency, which is a real asset in the field of security.

It can be self hosted and integrated easily into an existing infrastructure, hence providing total access control and data ownership, while most of the existing solutions are completely opaque and hosted in the cloud.

It is primarily designed for teams, while other solutions are primarily designed for individuals with collaboration or enterprise features built-in as an afterthought, making it difficult to get adopted in a professional context.

Finally, other solutions are mostly based in the USA. In Europe we have strong laws protecting net neutrality, data ownership and privacy, and when it comes to password management, it is a real guarantee for companies that want to minimize risks in these areas.

What has Fit4Start’s program brought to you?

The Fit4Start program was amazing. It helped us exactly with what it is intended to do: accelerate! We benefited from highly experience coaches and a personal follow-up. We could tackle our most important issues with them and refine our business model. They encouraged us to tests assumptions, make experiments and learn from them, which is something one doesn’t necessarily focus on while running a business on a daily basis. From it we gathered a lot of learnings and validated some of the most important components of our strategy. We have accumulated enough metrics to prove that Passbolt is fit for the market and ready to scale. Such demonstration is a huge asset when reaching out to potential investors and partners.

Moreover Fit4Start also stimulate creativity by triggering emulation with the other startups participating to the program. We were challenged on our vision and ideas on a daily basis. This permanent reality check is something really useful for any entrepreneur.
What are the next steps of your development strategy?

We started 2017 with the opening of our new office in Technoport. In the coming months, our plan is to ship the features requested by our users, and launch our paid offerings. We already have more than 100 companies that have signed up for such services and are waiting for us to deliver it. We are constantly in touch and collaborate with them to make sure that what we develop is best aligned with their needs. It is very exciting, but there is also a lot of pressure. We expect to be ready with the cloud offer and our premium features by the last quarter of 2017.

We are also currently looking for experienced and well connected investors in order to accelerate our development and reach the next milestones faster.

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