Interview with Finn Persson, Spintop Ventures
Why have you invested in Defentry? What makes Defentry unique from your perspective as an investor?
Defentry taking a broader approach to personal digital information was the main reason. For the individual, Defentry has a product that searches for both data leaks and identifies threats.
Combined with the fact that Defentry hasn’t been satisfied there, the product also helps the individual with guidance on what action to take. So that the threat is remedied, everything is restored and the customer's data comes back again.
We believe that the broad approach with the individual in mind makes Defentry unique.
We assume that you also looked at other companies in the industry, before investing in Defentry. Do you feel that others do not do what Defentry does?
When we made the investment, we found that Defentry has taken the individual and personal perspective further to meet the individual's needs. This makes Defentry's product stand out well. Both in terms of technical functionality and what the product can do, but also the packaging and positioning.
Which companies do you at Spintop Ventures invest in and focus on?
We are a fairly broad tech-investor and work in several segments. Above all, we want it to invest in software-based tech companies. We are located in the Nordics, and that is mainly where we scout. We think it is an interesting area.
As for Defentry, we classified that company as a business to business to professional (B2B2P), where we protect the individual through their professional role. We see that both in the physical, but above all in the digital world, that the roles as a professional and a private individual often blend together. Just test yourself, are you a private or professional on Facebook or Linkedin? It’s not really possible to keep those two apart for most of us, you are in both roles at the same time.
We see Defentry as B2B tech and in a very interesting and important area, which is also defensive in nature and offers a component to protect both life on the web, personal integrity and personal information. For us, it’s a thematic area in which it was important to invest.
What you describe here, that the professional and the private role blends together is really interesting. Some large traditional companies try to solve this by banning and restricting the employees' use of private accounts. Can't it be a way to go to solve security problems?
No, this is a trend that is impossible to stop. Of course there are certain specific roles, workplaces and areas where it is crucial that one's professional and private role never blend together. But for most of us, this is not the case.
It will not be possible to avoid this in the future and the trend will continue, it’s better to accept it. Companies also benefit from it when employees become more satisfied.
But based on the individual, regardless of whether you’re in the job role, in the private role or somewhere in between, we at Spintop like the idea that you are always protected via Defentry's product.
Why did you choose Defentry when there are so many interesting tech companies right now?
As an investor, it is hopeless to be forced to invest in market trends. We liked the combination of Defentry addressing a very important problem and we see that this is only the beginning. It is terrible, of course, that there is a violent increase in this type of leakage, fraud and crime. But one can only state that Defentry addresses a rapidly escalating problem, the amount of digital information linked to one's own digital identity will only continue to increase in the future.
We also sympathize a lot with the distribution model. We have followed Defentry for a long time and when the company was first started, the purpose was to sell the product as a consumer service. We told the founders that we thought it would be very challenging for this type of innovative service. Defentry achieved some success directly with consumers, but it was soon noticed that another approach would be better.
So when Defentry turned into an indirect distribution with a white label solution to the financial sector, the pieces fell into place for us. We believe that there is a strong business logic for Defentry to offer their service to the financial industry where the product provides great value in their customer relationships.
Did Spintop Ventures join Defentry when we still worked with direct distribution or after we became a B2B provider?
We joined after the turnaround to B2B and have been involved as investors for two years now. Right after the first partners signed, where MySafety is the flagship among them.
Did you follow Defentry throughout the journey or what made you join just two years ago?
We have followed Defentry on and off over the years, but one of the board members of Defentry who knew what we were looking for thought that we would like what Defentry would now be. Since the transformation to a B2B player had then been completed, we decided to invest and we think it looks really promissing.
What is your time horizon with this investment?
We are flexible in this matter. We want to be part of a proper growth journey and believe that we Defentry will have made a great impression internationally as well within five years.
Where do you think Defentry as a company will stand in five years?
We believe that Defentry will have succeeded in the ambition to become a very important strategic player that protects personal data for millions of individuals around Europe. And that this is done together with important partners in the financial sector, i.e insurance companies.
Then we will see if there are also other verticals that may come into question, but right now we think that the business logic best suits the financial sector and that there is room to go in deep with the partner model.
We are good partners for the insurance companies at the same time as they are good and stable partners for us as well.
This is a growth journey that will last for a number of years. What do you want for additional investors in Defentry as we look ahead?
It would be very good with international investors who have previously been involved in scaling up security technology in growth companies. We at Spintop Ventures also wouldn’t mind investors who have connections to larger companies within finance and insurance, which is the industry we are working against.
But above all, it’s an international investor base we want to see. It’s great to have investors in the target markets in Europe for a successful international expansion. It provides an enormous advantage in terms of understanding target markets and access to networks.
Can you describe Defentry as an investment case for the ideal investor?
To invest in Defentry is a chance to take part in a powerful journey where a new and important technology will be rolled out to millions of users. It will be a good deal, at the same time as it will also contribute to profits from a community and social perspective.
And last but not least, we at Spintop Ventures think one of the most important things to ask yourself as an investor in fast-growing companies is whether the company solves a real or a fictional problem. For us, it is clear that Defentry solves a real and very important problem.
What piece of advice do you want to give to the management team at Defentry?
Defentry has gone through a period where the focus has been narrowed with the goal of really going deep into a product vertical, in this case insurance. This whole exercise has been very important and very good and now Defentry will deliver on it.
We also have a great situation where Defentry really recruited top forces to their team, which was important to us when we invested. Now Defentry needs to take advantage of all the knowledge and experience that comes with this.
The management team must ensure that the new forces within the employees are getting to work, while you come together as a proper management team where the sum of the parts becomes larger as a whole. This is a precondition for the business to be able to scale up for future growth.