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Meet The 3 Winners Of FIC’s 2020 Startup Competition

The 13th edition of the International Cybersecurity Forum will be held on 28-30 January in Lille. The organizers have just announced the three winners of the FIC 2020 Startup Award. Let’s find out who they are.
by: Silicon Luxembourg
photo: Olvid
featured: Olvid’s team

Listen to article (Part I)

The FIC 2020 Startup Prize was awarded to Olvid, a Paris-based company that offers a new generation secure and encrypted messaging application. The Jury Prize went to Citalid, which publishes a software for the evaluation and simulation of financial cyber-risks and enables companies to optimise their investments in a secure manner. And, the Jury’s Coup de cœur went to Tarides. Tarides has developed a platform capable of automating the elimination of software bugs.

Made up of end-users, investment funds, representatives of the ANSSI (National Agency for the Security of Information Systems) and the French Ministries of the Interior and Armed Forces, the FIC jury distinguishes one or more innovative company in the field of cybersecurity each year. The prizes will be awarded to the three winning startups on 29 January during the show. This year’s theme will be “the role of the human being at the heart of systems.” How does one reconcile artificial intelligence, the human factor, and security to provide them with a secure, reliable, and scalable “user experience?” Is there such a thing as “cyber-empathy?”

Listen to article (Part II)

Three questions. 9 answers.

Here is our catch-up with Cédric Sylvestre (VP of Sales at Olvid), Maxime Cartan (co-founder of Citalid) and Céline Laplassotte (head of partnerships at Tarides).

Give us your elevator pitch.

Olvid (Cédric Sylvestre): We are launching an ultra-secure instant messenger, capable of committing to: total confidentiality of conversations and exchanges of sensitive attachments and anonymity of personal data (no name, phone or email address to communicate). We use cryptographic protocols that have taken the best of what exists elsewhere and are much more reliable than external storage via servers. After five years of R&D, our technology is now ultra-efficient.

Citalid (Maxime Cartan): We develop software for managing and optimizing cyber investments for companies based on an algorithm that determines the delta of financial exposure to risk. This allows them to answer questions about their positioning (and that of their customers), where they are going and how to get there safely by measuring their return on investment. IT and Cyber risk managers, particularly in the insurance sector, are our clients.

Tarides (Céline Laplassotte): we are a young startup created two years ago that develops MIRAGE OS, an open source operating system that uses Unikernel* technology: highly specialised applications that have a minimal attack surface. Tarides’ next objective by the end of 2020 is to develop OSMOSE, a new platform that will allow the development of decentralized and secure applications for connected objects.

* Unikernels are specialized system images through which all processes share the same memory spaces.

What will this prize change for you?

Olvid: The jury that elected us is represented by recognized and influential personalities such as the president of Airbus or the cyber security managers at the French Ministry of the Armed Forces. And, with this, our own legitimacy increases. Currently, the app is free for the public. We now want to launch paid features for companies and work on sensitive data use-cases. We know that 95% of data leaks in the world come from conversations with third parties. And, 80% of French companies were hacked at least once in 2019. We want to design our technology to secure the exchange of confidential elements and prevent these leaks/attacks in the future.

Citalid: This is an additional visibility aid for our company following the double prize obtained in 2018 at the Assises Nationales de la Sécurité. The awards have enabled us to raise €1.2 million in funds which we are now dedicating to the globalisation of our service. This prize will allow us to hire (we are now 10) key account sales profiles and work with reseller partners (i.e. consulting firms).

Tarides: We took part in this competition to gain visibility. The goal is in sight as we are now getting good media coverage which we are able to relay on our social networks and blog. With this prize, we will be able to look for new customers/partners and launch new projects.

What cyber security idea would you like to see materialize?

Olvid: The one that one of our partners had in a parallel project called CybelAngel. I’d like to see a solution that addresses the board committees and directorates of groups when they exchange sensitive data to protect. It’s an education in cyber security by evidence: as long as they don’t see the document that has “leaked” to the darkweb for example, or a messaging hacking, they don’t believe it. It’s an idea that helps us a lot today!

Citalid: I don’t know if it exists…Human beings also pose risk factors in the cybersecurity world and need to be taken more seriously. We’re at a basic level, but I would like to see its importance from a young age.

Tarides: Today, it is essential to identify the vulnerabilities of a software at its design phase. Risk analysis, minimization of the attack surface and continuous improvement in order to maintain security are essential features. But, for many companies, security is a concept that comes into play only after the software has been developed (or even deployed!). At this stage, it becomes extremely difficult to secure.

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