NAB among backers as ‘moral hacker’ gets $2.2m to teach techies her tricks

NAB among backers as ‘moral hacker’ gets $2.2m to teach techies her tricks

SafeStack Academy has also created a closed network social hub for developers from different organisations to discuss security issues, from data breaches to malicious account takeovers.

In pre-founder life, Ms Bell worked as a “hacker with a moral code”, breaking into company systems to help businesses determine their security cracks, and then help devise solutions for patching them up.

Best supporting cast

SafeStack’s team of 14 all work remotely across Australia and New Zealand, and Ms Bell said their ability to speak to developers on an equal footing, based on experience, set them apart from competitors who based their sales pitches on fear.

“Most of the team have been the builders of software – whether we’ve been testers or software engineers,” she said. “We’ve been in early-stage product companies. So, we know those challenges really well.

“So instead of coming and being the authoritative voice of security, we’re trying to be the best supporting cast, while they build their cathedral.

“They’re building something epic and amazing, and they’re excited about it. Our job is to find the excitement too, but help them be safe while they’re doing it.”

SafeStack Academy has been used by 60 organisations across six countries so far. It runs on a subscription-based business model that charges organisations per learner annually.

The fresh seed investment will go into improving the product and beefing up the content side of the business, which includes videos and online course.

Online tech training was highlighted as a potentially lucrative company category this year when Australian brothers Sam and Ryan Kroonenburg sold their cloud computing training business A Cloud Guru to US tech company Pluralsight for $2 billion, less than six years after founding it.

Jelix Ventures chief executive Andrea Gardiner said she was excited to back Ms Bell and bring her under the wing of a firm where 35 per cent of founders in the portfolio were female.

“There’s a global shift for developers to build in security from the outset,” she said. “By providing a powerful way to upskill development teams to do this, Safestack Academy is riding this wave.”

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