11 Sep CHRISTIAN TORRES – KRIPTOS
Kryptos helps companies automatically classify confidential information. Christian Torres and Alfonso Villalba worked in a technology startup incubator in Ecuador and knew firsthand the problems many companies faced with confidential information contained in thousands of uncategorized, tagged, stored, etc. documents.
In 2016, they decided to found their first email encryption startup, seeing that cybersecurity issues were becoming more and more demanded and a growing trend in the market. In 2018 they took another step forward and found Krptos.
Christian Torres, co-founder of Kryptos shares his experience as a technology startup growing internationally.
Everything has been very fast thanks to the fact that we were chosen to be part of a joint acceleration program of technological startups organized and sponsored by Barclays and the Seedstars accelerator. Thanks to this program Alfonso Villalba, my partner and co-founder of Kriptos, and I moved to Tel Aviv.
The program consists of 3 stages: the initial mentoring in which you present your idea to the mentors so that they literally throw it down and you build your idea from scratch again. I would say that it is like building a Lego with which millions of children have played. The next stage in which, with the feedback and support of those mentors, you put your idea into action with the necessary changes and work with real companies that identify a need and develop your technology, service or product. In the third stage, you graduate at Demo Day and already present your metrics, achievements etc…On that date thanks to the program, we had already received the necessary funding!
Kriptos provides our clients with the solution to the management and handling of their confidential information. It scans the client’s documents according to content and context and, thanks to the use of artificial intelligence following ISO 27001, an international standard issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that describes how to manage the security of information in a company. After this audit we facilitate the client’s findings. The client can see which documents are confidential, who has access to them, where they are stored, etc. and depending on this, their technology departments, risks teams, etc. take the necessary decisions and establish the action plans they consider appropriate to comply with the ISO.
What are the main challenges faced by startups when expanding from Latin America?
One of the doubts we had, in the acceleration program when we were in Tel Aviv, was where to create the headquarters of our company and establish ourselves for business. We decided to bet on Ecuador, our country of origin, because thanks to our previous experience, the program and Barclays, we already had the necessary networks.
For us, the important thing is to have a good market product fit and then scale it to the U.S. market with Seedstars so we really didn’t care where we were based. We started in Ecuador and then bet on Chile where I live now. Chile is the country of LATAM that invests more than its GDP in technology and security. All the big multinationals have presence there and it is a strategic market that invests a lot in technology and serves us as our hub and then expand to the rest of LATAM.
In addition, we have just applied to Corfo’s Startup program and we have many expectations of being part of it.
What are the main challenges that startups face when expanding to Latin America?
The important thing is to have a good market product fit, entrepreneurs have to look for real problems that companies face and create a global product, not one just for LATAM, using methodologies that work to solve those problems with real companies.
A great challenge when incubating from LATAM is that companies have to be clear from the beginning with us whether they want our product or not so we do not loose time and opportunities.
For us, the BARCLAYS brand is a great support&ambassasor because it has opened us and opens many doors to companies. For every entrepreneur who starts, sales are a challenge and we are no exception. Closing sales deals is fundamental to be able to operate.
Key learnings/recommendations for companies planning to grow internationally
Every entrepreneur is unique, don’t take me as an example! It’s a passion and you always have to have fun!
The resilience of the entrepreneur is a key quality. Never give up and keep in mind that the best is always to come!
Always prioritize what is important versus what is urgent, think big because scaling is fundamental for success.
Always remember that your product has to solve a key customer need, don’t think what you want, but think about what your customer needs and how you’re going to give it to them. Building together is the recipe for success!