Aircloak‘s anonymization technology creates new opportunities for business intelligence and data monetization by unlocking user data analytics while maintaining privacy. We sat down with Aircloak’s Co-founder and CEO, Felix Bauer, to learn more about this young startup’s technology and the refreshing individuals behind it.
Congratulations on making it to the Cisco EIR Vienna program! What are your goals in joining Cisco EIR? What do you hope to accomplish?
Aircloak: We’ve had the chance to work with great people at Cisco before, after winning the Cisco IoE Security Grand Challenge in 2014. Pushing our collaboration from a technical one to a market-centered program was a logical next step. Tapping into Cisco EIR’s great expertise and network, setting up customer projects together, integrating into Cisco’s technological and economical ecosystem—all that is part of the plan. If done correctly, joining Cisco EIR is a huge win-win scenario. We want to give our best to make that possible.
When was the company founded? Why and by whom?
Aircloak: We started work on Aircloak in 2012, but only officially incorporated last year, in 2014. We felt we’ve come far enough to take our enterprise to the market. Why? Because the world sorely needs what we’re offering. As a society, we produce massive amounts of private data each day—in 2020, 40% of our data will be private! Dealing with this in a safe, easy and compliant way will be paramount to the success of big topics like the Internet of Everything, Smart Cities or modern healthcare.
The founders are three guys passionate about the cause—and with solid academic backgrounds from Cornell University and the University of Cambridge.
There is a lot of hype around Big Data and analytics. What makes your technology unique?
Aircloak: Phew, lots of stuff… But I think the two main points are: (1) An extremely high level of data privacy. With Aircloak, you can get statistical information about large amounts of personal data—but nobody can ever access the raw data. Nobody! Not even an administrator or us as inventors. (2) We don’t just say that—we offer an unprecedented level of transparency and offer cryptographic proof of our systems operations. It’s impossible for us to cheat.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
Aircloak: A long time ago. Sebastian was editor for three newspapers when he was seven to twelve years old. He assures me he had paying subscribers. He also built homepages and firecrackers. My earliest entrepreneurial memories are focused around building gambling machines out of wood (pretty proud of that) and a toy lending scheme (less proud of that).
The often long work hours of startups is almost legendary, and a badge of honor for some. What’s the work environment like at Aircloak?
Aircloak: At Aircloak, we don’t pride ourselves with inhuman work hours. We’re convinced that we get more done in six hours when we’re rested than in ten when we’re not.
Great mantra to live by. Can you give us a fun fact about your startup?
Aircloak: We’re seven people, but we don’t have an office. Instead, we invest in nice retreats—this year, we had a great time on Mallorca. Also, two-thirds of the founders tend to annoy everyone with their obsessive singing.
Lastly, any advice for young entrepreneurs?
Aircloak: Stay open-minded, but make it clear to yourself and to others where your journey is going. Listen more than you speak. Learn to say “No.” Get over yourself.
Interview done by Julia Eschelbeck, Program Manager for Cisco EIR Vienna.Tags: data, data privacy, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, IoE, smartcities, startups, technology