Tammy Kahn, Co CEO and Co Founder of FYEO, charts her progress from a strategic communications and philosophy degree, via a family business selling antiques on ebay, to co-leading a blockchain cyber security firm working with layer one blockchains. She ‘face planted’ into tech she says and loves it.
However, originally she wanted to become a journalist which accounted for the university subject choices, but decided against applying for provincial radio or TV stations to study in the broader business sector. She did however manage to write for Forbes and Huffington Post and found this skill set also very valuable in her own business.
“I found I enjoyed strategic communications and business better than regular reporting, but I also enjoyed the philosophy which was to serve me well in later life. My emotional intelligence is pretty good which is helpful when co-founding a business with five other people, especially when most of them are code logic experts – I like to look at how the pieces fit from a business and partnership perspective.”
Kahn has an interesting viewpoint on logic which is part of her passion.
“I learned the hard way that things can be logical and valid but it doesn’t matter as they may be false. Whereas something that is true might be totally illogical. Having this understanding is critical when running a startup.”
Before venturing into the world of startups, Kahn worked in the family business which included lots of dinner time business talk, so she was indoctrinated from an early age for business to be a focus for all parts of her life.
“At the family dinner table we spoke about homework and orders in the same breath.”
The family business was not very technical despite selling online, but Kahn discovered Web2 marketing which she loved – so much that she formed a small marketing company to help other businesses use online strategies. Then she met one of her co-founders Brian Gale and together they worked on a Web3 project. It was at this point that Kahn got bitten by the tech behind Web3 or ‘face-planted’ as she says into Web3.
The result was FYEO, or For Your Eyes Only, a cybersecurity company. There are three pillars to the business now but it began as a company building decentralized applications for larger enterprises.
Another of the co-founders, Thomas Olofsson, is a security expert and they quickly realised that while there may be smart builders working in this space, there was a lack of security expertise, so they decided to capitalise on their inhouse strengths and set up a consulting arm to act as a security auditor for other projects.
“We were able to establish that any project was only as good as their last code audit. We began looking at possible attack vectors and to include non-code aspects such as social engineering hacks. So while the code might be perfect, some 35% of hacks came from non-code related vulnerabilities. This led to the development of FYEO Domain Intelligence or FYEO DI.”
FYEO has another founding partner, Mikael Byström who has been collecting intelligence from the Dark Web since 2013. As a result the company has 25 billion leaked credentials and has used this data to crack 18 billion passwords. Using this vast expanse of data, FYEO DI can monitor potential phishing sites, monitor employee password securities and basically monitor chatter on the dark web that might be applicable to its clients.
“We are also planning on releasing next quarter the world’s first truly decentralized password manager. And we’ll release that for free. We reckon it could be a game changer and reduce significantly if not eliminate the issue of leaked passwords.”
A Decentralized Team
The FYEO founding team is decentralized with Byström, Olofsson and Björn based in Sweden and Kahn, along with her Co-CEO Brian Gale and President and CFO David Garrity based in the United States, with everyone having their own area of expertise. There are 26 employees in total.
“It’s important for our culture for everyone to have their own lane they can focus on and that they can build important stuff with people they like and trust. This is how we are building our own culture.”
This adherence to culture also informs how they choose their customers and partners which have to meet their Code of Business. FYEO met with Flare Network at ConsenSys last year and have been working together ever since.
“There is no shortage of interesting work to do with Flare. The code team loves to go deep and working with a layer one such as Flare is very satisfying as Flare prefers to have ongoing audits which resonates with our team.
“We like to get in early and look under the hood. Mikael Björn, part of the founding team who manages the Cybersecurity Research practice at FYEO, really dislikes what he calls ‘drive by reviews’ which are superficial and only at one point in time. “We like to be an extension of the team.”
“What we like about Flare is their willingness to take our constructive feedback very seriously. It’s evident to us that they want to create a really secure environment for their community users.”
Flare is on the FYEO DI platform too – taking all sides of security seriously.
“They realize that security is a critical component as they build and scale.”
Right now, Kahn is on the lookout for new projects building on Web3, especially those in early stages. She believes the startup programme (with its financial discounts) can be very valuable for new projects to avail of FYEO’s anti-phishing and dark web monitoring of their domain. They are also looking for more mature projects such as Flare where they do ongoing threat monitoring, code reviews and basically become an extension to the team.
“Oh, and we are also looking for beta testers. Go to gofyeo.com to beta test our decentralized identity platform. Be brutal in your feedback because we are going to launch it next quarter. Be part of a worldwide movement.”