BizSpark Startup of the Day - CipherPoint

The BizSpark startup of the day is CipherPoint, based in the US. Below you will find an interview with Woody Shea, VP of CipherPoint. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!


Tell us who you are and your role in the company:

VP, Software Development, technical co-founder, and creator of our transparent content encryption technology for SharePoint.

What did you do before creating your company?

I have worked in software development for almost 20 years, for companies including IBM, OM Software Systems, and Predictive Systems.

How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?

Great… It’s nice to have gotten our products to release, and to get customer feedback, and it’s nice to get some recognition from BizSpark and from Microsoft.

What is your company’s mission?

In short, our commitment is to provide innovative security solutions to protect and enable our customers' information assets.

In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:

CipherPoint builds transparent content encryption products for SharePoint. Our products protect sensitive content, enable compliance, & enforce need to know.

How did you get the idea for your company?

Our founders’ backgrounds include deep IT security product company experience. We became aware of some of the security challenges that SharePoint users were facing last year, and we did a lot of research on the market need, and on the optimal technical approach to the problems we saw.

Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?

We are not actively looking for funding at this time. We anticipate raising our first round of investment early next year, and we’ll likely be looking to raise $500k.

How many employees do you have? How many developers?

5 employees, two developers.

Are you hiring?If yes, what are you hiring for and where?

We’re actively looking for developers with .NET and SharePoint product development experience, and with a background in security. We also anticipate hiring sales staff early next year. An Austin, TX location is ideal, but we’re open to employees working from home, in any location, if they’re the right fit. Send resumes to us at:

Which platform are you building on?Why?

.NET, and SharePoint. We see the opportunity to solve real customer problems for SharePoint users in the areas of securing sensitive content, addressing the insider threat, enforcing need to know, and enabling compliance for content stored in SharePoint for multiple regulations. Beyond having a lot of customer pain to tackle around security issues, the runaway success that SharePoint is having in the market made SharePoint an easy choice as a first market segment for us to target.

Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?

We’re a bunch of security geeks, so we may be biased, but there continue to be lots of new threats, and new technology platforms facing both old and new threats. That translates into new market opportunities for security technology companies. We don’t expect this dynamic to change any time soon.

What do you think about the BizSpark Program?

It’s great to see a focused program aimed at helping early stage companies to succeed in building Microsoft-centric technologies and companies.

Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?

CipherPoint went through the Founder Institute program this past summer, and it was a great experience. It was, and still is, very useful in helping us to think through all aspects of our business. I would highly recommend it. Beyond this, test your product vision early and often with potential customers.

Who’s your role model?

Honestly it’s an amalgam of various people but, if I had to pick the one person who has most influenced me professionally, I would say Alan Turing. Innovation comes from the ability to ‘step back’, and make use of the sum-total of your experiences, even if they seem unrelated to your goal. Mr. Turing was a master at doing this. He used this ability to define Computer Science as a field, and provide significant help in ending a world war. I often wonder how much more advanced the field would be now if he hadn’t died so young.

What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?

CipherPoint can help expand the market opportunity for SharePoint, by enabling “enterprise-grade” security for sensitive content stored in SharePoint. This means more opportunities for Microsoft in enterprise accounts with SharePoint, more opportunities for integrators, and a big security differentiator for ISV’s and integrators.