Meet Sandra Tobler, CEO of Futurae and Venture Leader Mobile 2023. Futurae is building trust with its future-proof customer authentication for customer-facing platforms. Tobler and the other members of the Swiss National Mobile Team will head to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February.
Name: Sandra Tobler
Graduated from: University of Geneva, MA International Relations
Job title: CEO & Co-founder
Number of employees: 48
Money raised: CHF 7.5 million
First touchpoint with Venturelab: Venture Leaders Fintech 2017
Whom does your product or solution help, and how?
Futurae supports highly-regulated industries with customer-facing platforms, portals, and apps. Futurae’s innovative authentication and fraud prevention platform allows enterprises to design seamless digital touchpoints like online access and payments while preventing constantly evolving fraud types.
How did you come up with the idea for your startup?
The idea to look into more user-friendly approaches for online security was born in 2015 as part of a doctoral thesis at the ETH Institute for Information Security under Professor Srdjan Capkun. The highly diverse team at Futurae is passionate about changing the industry by involving more diverse people in building a cybersecurity product used by millions of people by securing online services and payments. The first prototypes were subsequently presented at the Tier 1 cybersecurity conference Usenix Security Conference in Washington—with respectable results. The platform, which is based on machine learning for real-time decisioning has been built from the ground up since then.
What do you expect from the Venture Leaders roadshow, and how do you think it help you achieve your vision?
The Venture Leaders roadshow will provide Futurae with a significant push to achieve the next level of maturity: To prepare and build networks for the planned Series B round, to enhance our global partner network, and to learn from investors and experts about how to cater to new markets and regions.
What are you most excited about at work right now?
Building something that has an impact on so many people every day. But also to constantly learn and grow and to be able to shape the environment and culture I’m working in. Seeing how our product can empower customers further with benefits from the entire insights we gain across the platform.
“We are building seamless security for people for today and tomorrow.”
How did you go about building your team?
We use our network and do active sourcing.
What market are you addressing and what is the potential of your startup in that market?
We address the finance, insurance, health, education, retail, and public sector. The multi-factor authentification (MFA) market is estimated to be USD 26.7 billion by 2027, and we project a CAGR of 15.6% between 2022-27.
What are your company’s and team’s key achievements to date?
Futurae works with over 110 renowned international companies in the financial services, health, education, and public sectors. Accolades that make us proud, like being named Gartner’s “Cool Vendor” in Identity and Access Management designation in 2018; winning the Efma-Capgemini Financial NewTech Award “Retail and Commercial Banking” in 2020; and making the CyberTech 100 – World Most Innovative Companies ranking every year since 2019, to name a few.
How did you come up with the name of your startup?
We are building seamless security for people for today and tomorrow. In security, you always need to be a step ahead of criminals. At Futurae, we rethink how security is done and shape how the future will look with more inclusive and accessible security.
Is there a key principle or value that guides you as you build your company?
“We shape a world we are proud to live in.”
Who inspires you and why?
Every entrepreneur who is passionate about making something better and having an impact on the world.
How do you foster creative thinking in your team?
Having a highly diverse team of people—with various backgrounds, coming from various cultures, ranging from their twenties to their late sixties—brings many perspectives on building a product.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a founder?
Making the life of millions of people easier and more secure online every day when using the web or mobile services, makes me very proud.
What is one thing people do not know about you?
I am visually impaired and have around 40% to 60% of blind spots in my overall vision.
Among your friends or your team, what are you known for?
Being very persistent and very loyal if something or someone matters to me.
Futurae CEO and co-founder Sandra Tobler with co-founders Claudio Marforio (COO) and Nikos Karapanos (CTO)
The Venture Leaders program supports startups in their global growth by taking top entrepreneurs on investor roadshows in sector-relevant tech hubs. Venture Leaders Mobile is organized by Venturelab with the support of Huawei, Swisscom, and VISCHER.
Futurae Technologies, founded by ETH Zurich security researchers and business leaders (ETH spin-off) protects customers of large enterprises with strong authentication from online fraud.
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