Neil Costigan, CEO of Behaviosec

What is your mission statement?

Our mission is to create a world where consumers are part of the security solution, rather than the problem. Security should just work, without disrupting the user journey. Our behavioural biometric solution is a form of intelligent security – a multi-layered, pragmatic approach to user authentication and verification that means no user is forced to break into Fort Knox where there should just be a bicycle lock. It works on the premise that authentication should be continuous, based on identifying anomalies against learned user behaviour, rather than a one-off exercise. Our vision for the future is that our technology will be inside every device, protecting every user against fraud.

Where are you headquartered?

We are headquartered in Lulea in Sweden. Although the FinTech environment is much less developed than in London, this location has provided us with an internationally focused talent pool, and access to a collection of banks that are renowned for their early adoption of new technologies – BehavioSec has completely transformed the uptake of mobile payments in Scandinavia.

Who do you think will be the most influential figures (or companies) in FinTech, in 2015?

Incidents such as the Snowdon revelations and the high profile celebrity photo leak from iCloud have put security – and the issue of online identification – firmly under the national spotlight. For this reason, I expect that companies (such as BehavioSec) addressing evolving security and data privacy and protection concerns will become increasingly influential.

What kind of year do you foresee for your company, and the industry as a whole?

We are seeing a massive shift in the perception of our technology. Behavioural biometrics is no longer an intriguing ‘fringe’ technology. It has been successfully applied and proved at scale – we are proud to say that, following extensive trials with Nordic banks, our solution has now been deployed across the region for mobile and internet banking, and is now turning heads at other financial institutions globally.

What are your key targets for 2015?

Our aim is to continue to lead disruption to the authentication and verification industry. We are already in an advanced stage proof of concept trial with a major UK high street bank, and look forward to continuing to take the success we have seen in the Nordics to a wider international audience. This growth will be fuelled by the €5 million investment we received in December from NorthZone and Octopus. To support this expansion, we will continue to consolidate our presence in the UK and US, as well as further investing in our products.

What will be the most important opportunities for FinTech in 2015?

As the FinTech industry and companies within it mature and evolve, we anticipate that in many cases it won’t be a straightforward “new vs old” story, but a conversation about collaboration. How can banks harness the technology that smaller players are developing to support their quest for improved user experience? With an ever expanding array of consumer touch points – whose sky-high expectations will not compromise speed, security, or convenience – the appetite is there to challenge the existing processes and stand out from the crowd. Behavioural biometrics is a lightweight, frictionless layer of security that allows banks to stay ahead of the curve with regard to fraud, without introducing cumbersome processes that require end user education and support.

What are the key hurdles for growing your business this year?

There has been a great deal of hype around fingerprint and facial recognition, with several mobile devices now including these features as part of their user authentication process. Although this has doubtless been helpful in bringing an awareness of biometrics to a mass consumer audience, there is still a certain degree of confusion and intrigue around behavioural biometrics, an ‘invisible security’ concept that doesn’t hit the headlines so regularly. In terms of communicating to banks, we need to continue to articulate how behavioural biometrics can fit with and complement their existing authentication solutions, as well – of course – how this data is stored and protected.

What are your thoughts on the current state of FinTech?

It’s an enormously exciting time for the sector, with the current regulatory environment, investor appetite and start-up support environment all coming together to fuel a tidal wave of innovation. As the interest in challenger players increases, we are seeing increased specialisation within the FinTech sector – for example, it was announced recently that Europe’s first cyber security accelerator will launch in London.

(image credit: Wired / Nick Wilson)

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