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Can you tell us about your business?

Alyne is a next-generation software designed to make managing risk as easy as browsing social media. My three co-founders and I have all worked in technology, cyber security, and compliance in banks for the last 10 years. Banks are left with three options when it comes to risk: throw more bodies and spreadsheets at the problem; use governance risk compliance (GRC) software, which is as out-dated as Windows 95; or ignore the problem and hope nothing bad happens.

None of those options is great and all of them are probably expensive. We’ve taken a design-centric approach – similar to Facebook and LinkedIn – and adapted it to risk management software. Users sign up for Alyne and use it to solve different risk management and compliance problems. Alyne enables risk teams to engage with people. We don’t think setting rules and risk managing from an ivory tower looking down works in 2017.

Where did the business idea come from?

Having spent more than 10 years in cyber security, I saw a lot of unsatisfactory solutions. When I worked with a bank in Australia, they spent many millions on GRC tools users hated and couldn’t be bothered to use. It was an absolute waste of money. There was so much wrong with that situation and we needed to fix it. 

We don’t think managing risk from an ivory tower works in 2017
How did you get the business started?

My co-founders Matthias Danner, Manuel Reil, Stefan Sulistyo and I were all in very senior positions. Stefan was the chief security officer for Sky in Germany. Matthias worked on complex IT programs for European banks. Manuel was a senior manager at Deloitte & Touche. I was a director at Deloitte in Australia. I grew up in Germany and lived in Australia for a number of years. My parents are from New York and Seattle. In the summer of 2015, we all quit our jobs because we wanted to make something better and cooler than was already out there. We built Alyne and launched it in March 2016.

What is the potential of Alyne?

We want to see the application of artificial intelligence. So rather than administration, Alyne is focused on risk management. Alyne can also be a platform for organisations to interact with each other to understand risk.

The creativity and passion of running your own company makes every day either terrifying or exhilarating

What’s next for the company?

We are looking at working with other parts of Barclays to demonstrate our value. We’ve secured fresh funding and our team in London are actively hiring people to work in sales, marketing and business development. We are looking to gain a stronger foothold in the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific.

What did you get out of your time with the Barclays Accelerator programme?

Getting to work with Barclays was an incredible thrill. As a young team, we would never have been able to achieve that on our own. Engaging with other highly competitive teams also gave us a huge amount of inspiration.

You and your co-founders have worked for some large corporations. What’s the difference between that and running your own company?

Compared to working in a large business, the lows of running your own company are significantly lower. If something goes wrong, it’s devastating. You spend an enormous amount of emotional capital crawling out of it. But the highs are unbelievably high. The creativity and passion makes every day either terrifying or exhilarating. Often you can go through those emotions within 15 minutes of each other. Plus, the ability to work with a team of friends who inspire me is a luxury you don’t always have. 

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