is the CEO of Rubica, a cyber security startup whose mission is to protect individuals’ ‘digital rights’ and ultimately reduce the incidence of cybercrime. Rubica launched back in December 2016 and is headquartered in Kirkland, Washington. Since launching, Rubica has closed on $5.6M of investment on January 4, 2017, has offices in San Francisco and Seattle and employs more than 26+ professionals and counting. Read more about Rubica and how Frances is leading this startup in her interview below.
•Tell us a little about Rubica?
Rubica started as a boutique cybersecurity consulting service for very high-profile, high-net-worth individuals. But we quickly saw cybercrime moving down market, in terms of cybercriminals targeting more and more individuals and families, and we realized that there were no tools available for the average person to adequately protect themselves online. So we decided to build one.
Cybercrime is a $600 billion/year industry driven by organized crime. The unit of attack is now people in their individual lives – for both personal assets and the corporate assets we are linked to. The traditional protections (like antivirus, pop-up blockers) are ineffective in thwarting the advanced capabilities behind modern cybercrime. We wanted to build a solution powerful enough to protect a world-class corporation, but designed specifically for use by individuals and with consumer practicalities in mind. Rubica is an app that you download onto all of your devices (computers, tablets, phones) which allows you to connect to the internet securely, from anywhere in the world, and be automatically protected from phishing, malware, browser-hijackers, as well as new and emerging threats in real-time. All of the traffic to and from your device is protected 24/7 by our enterprise-grade security tools and human cyber analysts.
• How is Rubica making a difference?
Web-behavior, and how we interact with our devices, is an extension of who we are as people and is closely tied to our personal identities, interests, concerns and values. There is a digital “you” out there, regardless of whether you are active online or not. (Thanks Equifax…)
Rubica’s mission is to empower people to take back control of their digital world by providing them tools to protect themselves. All of us have the right to keep our information secure, private, and protected from predators. Rubica exists to protect these “digital rights.”
We are the first company to bring this level of meaningful, advanced security direct to consumers, and to approach it from a consumer-centric perspective. We want to make people more informed consumers of the security and privacy, so we are big on transparency and accessibility, which is unusual in the cybersecurity space. Being safe online should not be a privilege for big companies. Everyone should have the tools to protect themselves. Protect, inform, and empower — That’s what we are all about.
• What are some challenges you’ve faced?
We are creating a new industry – advanced personal cybersecurity. This is something that consumers have never purchased before, so it can be a challenge to educate people on cybersecurity and why you need it in your personal life. For example, many people confuse LifeLock with cybersecurity (it’s not…). We learned a lot through trial and error and have hired some amazing strategists who are helping us launch awareness and marketing campaigns this fall to address this.
The lack of diversity in the cybersecurity industry is also a challenge. I feel strongly about the value of diversity in building high-performing teams and the essential role diversity plays in innovation. Constant innovation is an imperative for us. In our business, you have to stay ahead of emerging threats, challenge assumptions, and think outside the box. You must have diverse teams in order to innovate, so I spend a lot of my time working on how Rubica can build and sustain an inclusive culture from the ground up, and how we can retain, develop and promote diverse employees throughout all levels of the company as we grow.
• What’s been your biggest win?
Closing our Series A round was a huge milestone. We now have a solid runway to focus on operations and are in “all engines full speed ahead” mode, without fundraising distractions. We are aiming to 10x our client-base in the next 15 months, which is really exciting.
• Who is your role model?
My role models tend to be people I know personally. I admire my sister for her intelligence, integrity and strength. I admire my co-founder, Roderick Jones, for his visionary and leadership abilities. Along this journey, I’ve met so many men and women who have overcome enormous obstacles and who had to work 10 times harder than their peers to get to where they are. These are the people who continually inspire me with their perseverance and bravery.
• What has been your experience been with the Female Founders Alliance?
The Female Founders Alliance is truly committed to making a difference for women – it’s not just lip-service. They have felt the pain of the female entrepreneur and know what tangible access, resources, and help will make a difference in moving the needle. They really get it. FFA provides meaningful access to people who can open doors (let’s face it, it’s all about who you know…) and the FFA events and resources are impactful and tactical. It’s not just another a networking group. I’m so impressed with and grateful for FFA. The relationships I’ve built via FFA have been incredibly valuable.