Startup Spotlight: Do You Know Who’s Spying on Your Inbox?
We’ve all seen the explicit phishing emails – no I will not open your so called “attachment” – but what about the more innocuous emails that are actually spymails? 270 billion emails are sent every day – can you spot the ones that are spying on you? 15% of business email today are spymails, containing hidden tracking, and 1% of all spymails are individually targeted? According to Paul Everton, Founder of Mail Control, he blocked nearly 100,000 tracking attempts over a 10-day period for one of their clients.
In a world where tracking has become standard, it’s become increasingly important for companies and individuals to protect sensitive data. We all need an online watchdog for ourselves, which is where internet heroes like Paul Everton come into play. Techweek CEO, Amanda Signorelli, sat down with Paul to learn about his path to building a stealthy Chicago startup – Mail Control
- Amanda : Paul, tell me about Mail Control. What does your startup do? Paul : MailControl’s mission is to ensure email privacy, security, and compliance for enterprises. We do so by blocking external email tracking attempts for your employees. In fact, spymails (aka email tracking) are prohibited under the upcoming EU GDPR, so we also help companies stay compliant by ensuring their employees do not track others who have not granted consent.
- Amanda : What’s the magnitude of this problem? Could Mail Control be a billion dollar company?Paul : About 45% of US full time employees work in sectors where sensitive information is frequently shared over email. We think this is a billion dollar market.
- Amanda : So your target market is focused on enterprise, how are you attracting those customers? What’s the momentum been to date? Paul : Both our sales and marketing teams focus on customer education when it comes to finding new customers, since lots of people are not aware that they are unprotected. Many think their existing anti-virus or anti-spam solutions are sufficient, and that’s simply not true. As part of this education process, we created a free tool at www.spymailtest.com that anyone can use to find out for themselves firsthand if they are exposed or not.
“We think this is a billion dollar market.”
- Amanda : What about competition? Who else is in this space? Paul : There have been multiple B2C players in this market, but we are the first entrant into the enterprise space. The two spaces are very different since in enterprise you have concerns over data confidentiality and scalability that do not exist for individual consumers. We’ve invested a lot of time into building a system that meets all these requirements, and have patents protecting our IP.
- Amanda : Alright, the headline then is you have a significant addressable market and you’re an early entrant – sounds like you need to scale quickly to attract these businesses. Have you raised outside capital to help build your company?Paul : We raised a seed round early 2016, and have raised additional bridge funding through a convertible note. Securing growth capital is of course critical to young companies, though candidly I prefer spending time building and selling software to pitching to investors!
- Amanda : We talked quite a bit about the business but what about you? Why are you the perfect founder for Mail Control? Paul : I studied cryptography in school and have always been interested in cybersecurity. After founding my prior company, which offers a web and mobile app that improves employee communications, I saw firsthand how central of a role emails still play in work communications even though it’s such an outdated and generally insecure system. I’ve set out to make this important system less insecure with MailControl.
- Amanda : Last question, if you had a company mascot what would it be? Paul : Spy vs. Spy