This profile showcases a communications technology firm that has never compromised its purpose and long term commitment. Company has achieved a landmark reputation and is scaling its business at hypergrowth pace.
Industry: Technology, communications
CEO: Mark Fields
Revenues (USD, year): Undisclosed
Wickr is a secure communications company enabling global enterprises and consumers to safeguard proprietary information and sensitive communications in transit. Its robust end-to-end encrypted collaboration system is architected to protect data endpoints across platforms – empowering customers to safely transport critical information and withstand emerging cyber threats.
Launched as a security-first company, Wickr started with a vision of engineering an intuitive, scalable, and agile communications ecosystem, resilient against targeted attacks. With its consumer user base growing by 6.6% monthly, Wickr Messenger has successfully proven the company’s multi-layered approach to designing security for high-risk, high-growth markets.
Today, having attracted almost $40 million in investment funds, Wickr is at a pivotal stage in its development – the company is expanding its reach to the enterprise market that is estimated to grow from $75 to $170 billion in the next four years. As the number of data breaches rapidly increases across industries, the mission of the Wickr team of world-renowned cryptographers and information security experts is to protect the highly regulated markets that are most at risk – including financial, legal and government systems – through robust yet intuitive encryption technology and strong data controls.
Scaling Secure Technology with Agility
The Wickr journey took place against the backdrop of two explosive growth trends in the over-the-top (OTT) communications market and information security, inevitably shaping the company’s outlook on its business and innovation strategy. The global mobile OTT communications market has grown from single digits in 2011 to $45 billion in 2016, reflecting an urgent need for real-time business collaboration across industries and continents.1 However, the explosion in the amount of data flowing across corporate and public networks has created a corresponding demand for data protection, accelerating growth in the cyber security market estimated to expand to $175 billion by 2020.
The challenge of building a business at the intersection of these two growing markets requires a precise focus on the need the company is solving. From the start, the Wickr team has envisioned engineering the most advanced yet easily accessible security protocol to safeguard valuable data against cyber threats, in compliance with emerging cross-border data regulations. Wickr has foreseen the risks of accelerated data generation by consumer and business applications that rapidly expand the global attack surface. The solution had to offer security resilience that is agile, scalable and verifiable. Wickr Messenger, the first application the company powered with its multilayered end-to-end encryption, has proven itself as the tool most capable of withstanding targeted attacks and protecting data, earning the highest ratings among security and privacy experts.
Since the launch of Wickr Messenger in the consumer market, the need for security has rapidly increased, with data breaches costing the global economy over $400 billion a year. A high level of uncertainty caused by evolving threat scenarios and new national data regulations has challenged businesses to adapt quickly. In response to the enterprise demand for accessible and dynamic security, Wickr has directed its investment to building new business products on its proven security foundation, expanding the company’s reach to institutional customers engaged in the data economy. Building alliances with a diverse customer base and the regulators overseeing cross-border data protection has empowered Wickr to design the most critical use-case scenarios and attack vectors into its products and security architecture.
In addition, a fast-changing security landscape has driven Wickr to build up its capacity expanding both the company’s talent and its technical capabilities. Wickr has employed the “red team” approach at the executive and the engineering levels to critically challenge existing assumptions and strategies. The goal is to ensure that the company is well-positioned to continue its growth trajectory effectively serving industry demands. As a result, Wickr’s products are capable of powering secure communications for global incident response teams, sensitive high-level negotiations, and critical infrastructure support – whenever the stakes are high and the value of coordination is critical.
At the engineering level, Wickr has continuously tested its defence with the regular third party code audits and a Bug Bounty Program, engaging its all-star advisers and the outside “red teams” of independent security experts. This approach has enabled Wickr to continue innovating and expanding the talent pool required to keep abreast of emerging security threats.
Peer CEO Advice
- The key to securing growth capacity is maintaining a strong vision for the company’s mission and understanding its long-term role over five to 10 years within the industry. For Wickr, this has meant committing to providing consumers and companies alike with the strongest security, accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world, on any device.
- Equally, if not more important, is nurturing the “red teams” within a company, including its board, to ensure consideration of the full industry landscape, enabling leeway to timely course-correct to continue on a growth trajectory.