Start-up stories. “Don’t overestimate the competition” – Tessian’s CEO, Tim Sadler

Start-up stories. “Don’t overestimate the competition” – Tessian’s CEO, Tim Sadler

As part of our 'Start-ups and their Stories' series, TEISS talks with Tessian's co-Founder and CEO, Tim Sadler, about their story, Steve Jobs and what they've learnt along the way...

What's the idea? 

Tessian uses machine intelligence to analyse email networks to gain an understanding of the conventional email sending and receiving patterns and behaviours . With this information, the software can then automatically understand when emails are being sent that contain security threats such as: 

Misaddressed emails: when an email containing sensitive information is inadvertently being sent to the wrong recipient.

Unauthorised emails: when an email containing sensitive information is intentionally being sent to an employee’s personal email account.

How the idea was conceived? 

Tessian was founded in 2013 by Thomas Adams, Ed Bishop and me. 

Tom, Ed and I met as engineering students at Imperial College before we started our careers in investment banking for some of the world’s largest financial institutions. Whilst working in finance, we witnessed the severity of sending highly sensitive information to the wrong person on email and saw a gap in the market for a solution. 

What’s your USP? Why will you succeed? 

We’re developing groundbreaking machine intelligence technology -- the methods were using have never been explored before and thus often surprise and delight our customers with just how value add Tessian is to their business. 

Most importantly, Tessian is a security platform that is both automatic and preventative. There’s no admin, data labelling or constant monitoring of the platform required - if Tessian detects something that looks like a data breach, it automatically prevents it from happening and then alerts the relevant security team. Our customers really love this because it allows them to immediately become more secure without any additional effort. 

Do you have any clients yet? Are any of them paying clients? 

Our customers are world-leading international organisations spread across many industries including law, finance, healthcare and technology.   

Is there a quote that inspires you? 

“If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right” — Steve Jobs

Is there a place that inspires you? 

Even though it’s now home, London continues to be one of the most inspiring places for me. I moved here ten years ago for university and remember being totally blown away by the scale and diversity of the place. Every day I walk through the city to get to work I feel energised.   


What have you learnt through the process? 

In addition to the above I’ve learned not to overestimate the competition. Most legacy enterprise software really isn’t half as good as it looks on the website.  

What is your advice for people with a cyber idea? 

People generally start cybersecurity technology companies because they love technology -- you have to love people and relationships even more. There’s a graveyard of technically excellent software products that never found their place in the market and plenty of examples of technically poor software products used by millions every day! You need to think about how you’re going to go to market and pitch and communicate your vision in a compelling way.


Copyright Lyonsdown Limited 2021

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