Dare to do something different and break new ground – that’s what we wanted to do in mid-2015 in search of new professional challenges. We, that is Jens Schmidt, Jon Allsop and Sascha Göckel the three founders of deviceTRUST GmbH.
We had known each other for a long time from the virtualization market, we appreciated each other and our work. We all understood the requirements and challenges thanks to many years of project experience with customers of different sizes and industries from the virtualization environment also called End-User Computing (EUC).
We wanted to leverage this experience and knowledge. However, it was not foreseeable at the time that these initial ideas would bring us to the point we are at today.
Focusing on the context
We packed our bags and met for five days on the North Sea island of Wangerooge to talk about our ideas and the future. We seriously discussed our options: do we go to a software manufacturer together, do we start our own IT consulting business or do we take the big uncertain step and found a startup? We quickly agreed, founding a startup was exactly what we wanted to do.
After some brainstorming sessions on the beach and extensive walks with a Flensburg beer or two, the decision was made. We would develop a software solution that takes into account the context of access within the EUC environment and applies contextual policies.
Context wasn’t a topic in IT in 2015! It was spoken about occasionally, but who needs that when accesses are always from the same user, the same location and the same end device. We were convinced that a solution was needed, because pure role-based access solutions would not be sufficient very soon.
What made us so sure that context would soon be the focus? It was our experience from the past several years and the conversations from customer projects, in which we were asked again and again, if it is possible to get more information about the used end device of the user, which is just used for the access to the EUC environment. Topics like security status, network location, Wi-Fi security, country of access and many more were asked. Unfortunately at that time only the IP address, the operating system and the NetBIOS name were available, but that was never the information that our customers had asked for!
New working models created new requirements
The use of the EUC environment was changing more and more and users were becoming more mobile. Today in the Covid-19 era, we know with confidence that the assumption was absolutely correct and the world of work will continue to evolve to where access to the Digital Workspace (the new term for EUC environment) will become more dynamic and mobile.
So we spent the rest of October 2015 defining the software solution in more detail and sounding out the market. What do we need in the first version and was there perhaps already a provider of such a solution that we overlooked? Is there enough market potential for us? How do we start a business and more importantly, how do we finance our lives and our families until the time we start making money with our software solution?
From mid November 2015 we were confident that there was a market for us, that we can deliver a saleable version with sufficient functionality and also that our financial side is secured for now – Let’s start the Engine! No sooner said than done, we looked for a suitable company name that was also available as a .com domain and successfully founded our startup deviceTRUST in January 2016 with the marketing slogan “Context awareness is important for your business”. 😊
During 2016, we released our first saleable version and launched our marketing and sales engine to introduce our solution to the market. We still remember very clearly the early days, which had a lot to do with conveying our mission. Not everyone immediately saw the benefits of our contextual security solution, or didn’t realize that role-based access management would no longer be sufficient.
Even though very few recognized the need at the time, we didn’t let ourselves be dissuaded and continued to convince the market and the community with our available funds and resources.
In mid-2017, we were able to attract the High-Tech Gründerfond as a seed investor and with their backing we were able to invest in personnel and marketing. In this as well as in the following years, we were able to achieve some further successes. We received our first two patents, filled all important positions with very good colleagues and won customers of various sizes and industries in Europe and the USA.
We have also increased our activities with our resellers and distributors in order to increase our market presence in the target markets and to have well-trained technical contacts for our customers.
At the end of 2019, we were able to attract Technologiefonds Hessen III and Hessen Kapital I as further investors within the Round A investment round to accelerate the growth of deviceTRUST.
Sometimes things turn out differently than you think
And then Covid-19 hit us all in early 2020 and our investment plans had to be put on hold for the time being. The pandemic brought both positive and negative changes for our company. On the one hand, because of the uncertain future, we had to sharply scale back investments or stop them individually, and projects and sales cycles were severely delayed. On the other hand, Covid-19 showed that access to digital workspaces has fundamentally changed and existing IT security solutions are no longer sufficient to meet the ever-increasing demands for IT security, compliance and regulatory requirements as user behavior continues to change.
In retrospect, we can say that we had the right nose in 2015 and that contextual security is today and in the future more and more an important part of any digital workspace environment. Look forward to more new useful features for our existing product, as well as new forward-looking products that we will be releasing in the coming months.
Stay tuned! 🚀