During the last three months, Covr Security has taken part in a highly exclusive accelerator program in Germany, through the organization Accelerator Frankfurt. The founder of Accelerator Frankfurt, Ram Shoham, explains more about the program and why he thinks Covr is a perfect candidate for it.
Accelerator Frankfurt has been active for just over six years and is mainly focused on the FinTech and Cybersecurity industry. The reason is that the two founders, Ram Shoham and Maria Pennanen, have a background in finance and tech, so naturally, they wanted to help companies working in that industry.
Ram Shoham, one of the founders of Accelerator Frankfurt.
They decided to set up their base in Frankfurt for several reasons.
Geographically it is easy to get around Europe and the airport also offers several connections to China and Hong Kong.
The competition for start-ups is low, so it’s easier for companies to reach their goals here than for example in London.
The banks in Germany are among the hardest to get into Europe. If you make it here, you have a stamp of approval for other European companies and institutions.
Accelerator Frankfurt has a three-month program that focuses on helping start-ups get investments, or preferably get into business with German banks. Shoham has a busy schedule meeting between 10-20 banks every week to understand what they are looking for in tech. This information then becomes the basis for the vetting program as they go through over 600 companies from all over the world every year to be selected for the program.
The criteria for being chosen to participate are tough:
The company must work B2B, no B2C companies are accepted
There must be a founding group, a single founder will not be accepted
At least one of the founders must have a strong technical background as buying that knowledge is too expensive.
The company must have a working product and paying customers
The company must have at least 10-20 employees
The company must have a product that is relevant to the financial industry.
Shoham explains that COVR almost didn’t make it, as he didn’t really understand what they provided. Why would a bank need a new authentication system? But when he realized that all banks could use the same system, reducing the cost of development and maintenance of a secure system themselves, he became very excited. The problem now is convincing the banks of the same thing. COVR’s existing track record has made that easier, and since they can point to the Swedish Bank-ID, that allows Swedes to easily verify their identity online for both banks and governmental services, there is already a nation-wide working business case.
Patrik Malmberg, CEO of COVR, holds a sales pitch in Frankfurt.
Shoham also explains that in order to create a true unicorn company (1+ Bn USD turnover), you not only need to solve an existing problem, but you also need to make it convenient for the end user.
“With Covr security, it’s very, very unique that they have these two things. It’s a very secure and reliable technology for a financial institution, but at the same time it’s so practical and convenient for us as end users.” Says Shoham.
During the program, COVR has received consulting on legal issues to become vetted with the necessary German certificates and verifications. They have also received help with technical issues, setting them up with pilot programs and implementations with German banks IT-systems. Finally, they fixed their communications issues by polishing their message to better cater to the German financial industry. This is all made through the strategic partners of Accelerator Frankfurt, and the 40+ hand-picked mentors that together provide over 200 hours of expert help. The track record is thus very impressive, where 70-80% of the companies in the program get what they want.
Ram Shoham speaks at Accelerator Frankfurt
However, in order to succeed you need a bit of luck, and a lot of hard work. In fact, Shohams guiding principle is that “Hard work puts you in a position where luck can find you”. During the three months, COVR has met hundreds of potential clients and decision makers and put a lot of effort into penetrating the German market rapidly with a sustainable offer. Due to the slow sales-cycle of the German financial industry, there is yet no deal made. COVR has however signed NDA’s with some banks and Shoham is convinced that we will very soon see COVR’s first German deal.
As one of only three companies chosen for this round, the program has set COVR up for an exciting expansion in central Europe, as they can offer a secure solution with ease of use for both the companies and their clients.
Covr Security AB, located in Malmo, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Frankfurt and Palo Alto, is a Swedish cybersecurity company. We have developed a next-generation, user-centric mobile security management app for a wide range of heavily regulated digital industries that depend on strong customer authentication and privacy. The Covr app is available both as an off-the-shelf authentication mobile app ready for a quick launch, and as a powerful SDK for hassle-free integration into existing mobile applications