Keeping the baddies away. That’s what both the winners of the Finance and Security theme of this years’ Blue Tulip Awards do. But both their solutions have a lot more going on. Security winner Pandora Intelligence creates a predictive model to fight crime, based on common narratives. While finance winner Trust Stamp manages safe, secure and inclusive user identification. We checked in to see what they offer to win the prestigious awards.
Pandora’s scenario based crime prevention
Amsterdam-based Pandora Intelligence is well on its way to help the largest organisations to mitigate any risks. How do they do that? Well, sit down, because it is story time. Literally, as Pandora takes a scenario based approach where they gather a large amount of data from various sources, extract knowledge and ‘compare, combine and create’ future scenarios. This way, anyone can prepare for anything that is likely to happen. A proposition that won them the Blue Tulip Award in the Security theme.
In a nutshell, Pandora has developed software that helps to gain insight in a large amount of data from a wide variety of sources. Pandora’s managing director Ard Jol explains it with an example of the police using their solution: “When they are dealing with a break-in, they want real-time information about similar cases. We have the information structured and categorised, so the system is already making connections to plot the case.”
No crystal ball, just clever tech
The secret sauce of Pandora is in the formula: intelligence is knowledge plus information, says Jol: “Knowledge comes from the past, information is in the present. By combining those two, you can create intelligence that predicts the future. We take all available data, like adding a collective memory, provide context and point in the right direction.”
This may sound like they have a crystal ball, but instead Pandora uses a proven method combining proprietary technology with clever storytelling. Founder Peter de Kock used his experience as a documentary maker when he switched careers to the Dutch Royal and Diplomatic Protection Service. In his thesis ‘Anticipating Criminal Behaviour’, he laid the groundwork for the design of a computer model for discovering the narrative of criminal actions and suggesting interventions to prevent them. “We can do in real-time what no one else can”, says Jol . “We’ve proven to be 84 times faster than an entire team of experienced experts. We can make a large collective memory available in real time. And we get better as well. Every case we handle is knowledge for the next time.”
How Trust Stamp’s Evergreen Hash makes the world safer
Pandora Intelligence uses its innovative product to make the world safer. The same can be said for the winner in the finance category. American Trust Stamp took home the Blue Tulip Award in the Finance theme for their Evergreen Hash.
Trust Stamps innovation answers two fundamental questions: “Who are you?” and “Do I trust you?” Incidentally, the answers to these questions are essential in many businesses, such as finance, that want to make sure their users or clients can safely log in. Their Global Identity Verification makes sure any user that logs in is exactly who the platform expects him or her to be. And by storing it in their hash, it can never be returned to the original private data if it is ever stolen or lost.
Safety and security is a major advantage of this Evergreen Hash which keeps its secrets. But president and co-founder of Trust Stamp Andrew Gowasack describes an even more important advantage: inclusiveness. “That is a part that a lot of people latched on to. This could help us add people all over the world who have traditionally been excluded. It’s that human element that people really liked. When we worked with Mastercard to provide this to NGO’s, all they needed was a really simple tablet to make it work.”
‘More good people coming in’
A tablet isn’t even required to ID oneself safely and securely with Trust Stamp’s product, says Gowasack “The end user doesn’t even need a smartphone or internet connection. Just show up as yourself. When thinking about it from a security point of view, you don’t just want to keep the bad people out. You also want more good people coming in. That’s what we’re doing.” Mastercard is not the only large client that the innovation from Atlanta, USA, has done business with. After launching the Evergreen hash in 2017 for financial and security businesses, S&P Bank was their first customer.
COVID-19 has proven the case for an innovation like the one from Trust Stamp. “When contact tracing becomes more important, security of personal data will also be more important. We’re currently seeing an uptick in interest in our product. Hard to say how much. I could stick a finger in the wind to measure interest, but it wouldn’t do it justice. The breadth of what we are doing is huge. For instance, we are currently talking to one of the largest insurers in the world.”
Winning Blue Tulip Award in Finance category
What also helps, in terms of interest and attention for Trust Stamp, is winning the Blue Tulip Awards in the Finance category. Though to be fair, they nearly took home the prize in the Security theme as well. Gowasack: “The judges said that we made sense in both categories. The feedback was that we shouldn’t let this be used for just financial services. The only limit to our technology is our imagination and we shouldn’t let other people limit us.” CCO Emma Lindley adds: “It’s very interesting how the format of the competition changed to online. Rather than watching just a few companies, this gave us the opportunity to check out many of them.”
‘Accenture is a great partner’
“It’s a great happening”, says Pandora’s Ard Jol about competing in the Blue Tulip Awards. “We regularly get requests to join competitions, but rarely do. But in this case Accenture is a great partner, and it is a great way to get a foot through the door. This is not something you can easily win and once you do, it has a lot of added value. The quality of the award is what makes it interesting.”
Jol appreciates the fact that the judges inspected the full scope of the company: “Where does your revenue come from? How do you shape your product? For us, it was important that we have a unique methodology which has been proven in real life. One of the judges is from Shell. They put a lot of effort in scenario based thinking and they were very enthusiastic. That gives us a lot of confidence.
Investors are interested
That confidence will come in handy for the near future. Pandora is currently fundraising. According to Jol, there is already interest from investors in both The Netherlands and London. Jol: “We want to take the step to setting up a sales organization and expand our development department so we can continue our international roll out.” So far, Pandora has raised €1,9 million with angel investors.
With a team of 30 people they currently serve 21 clients. Among them are police, departments of defence, security and a Dutch airliner. Jol: “We are making the transition to the public domain and we hope to add some non-governmental clients. We are also working on a strategy for Belgium, Germany, the UK and the Nordics.” Wherever they plan to go next, there will be enough work waiting for them. “The European market is huge. We’re not just talking about law enforcement, we can also serve companies and we made the transition to the cyber domain in which we have a unique proposition. The market will only grow for us.”
Funding growth for 2021
Same goes for Trust Stamp, says Gowasack. “We are currently raising a Regulation A+ Tier 2 because the raise will provide the required shareholder base and free-float. At the end of this round, our investors will be a combination of VC’s, Corporate-Strategics, and public shareholders.” This round should fund their growth through 2021. “We want to avoid additional dilution until the market value is significantly higher. We do envision a public raise in late 2021 based upon market conditions and opportunities.”
There are other plans, though. Trust Stamp wants to be listed on the Euronext Growth Exchange by the third quarter this year. According to Gowasack this will help his company to grow in value, create a liquidity option for investors and grow the team. Gowasack: “this is not something you can ever stop researching or developing. Part of the reason for the fundraiser is to account for the development. Just because you threw something out there, doesn’t mean the bad guys are going to stop.”