Tech Talk: LockDown Global; PopCom Update

Katy Smith
AJ Auld, CEO of LockDown Global

Launch Pad: LockDown Global

250 W. Old Wilson Bridge Road, Columbus 43085

CEO: A.J. Auld

Employees: 7

Investment to date: $2.75 million private angel investment

Patents: 2

Launching: In beta testing since November, launching late February

With large-scale data breaches in the news at places like Equifax, Target and even the IRS, how to protect against them has become top-of-mind for many businesses. A local startup is positioning itself to help solve the issue with data protection technology that bypasses passwords, which can be breached and often are the main gateway through which hackers gain access to data, according to an industry report by Verizon.

“People hate passwords. The majority of people use the same one for multiple accounts,” says A.J. Auld, CEO of Columbus startup LockDown Global. “They can be forgotten, they can be shared, and thieves are constantly trying to phish passwords. Eliminating passwords will lead to a dramatic decrease in data breaches worldwide.” 

LockDown’s software instead secures data with a technology called key handling, which is a form of cryptography. Among the software’s features is that it generates an audit trail, so owners can see who opened files and when. LockDown also can geolock files, ensuring they can be opened only in a specific geographic area, such as within the walls of your office.

The company plans to generate revenue through monthly subscription fees, which have not yet been set. Auld says the idea is to keep them affordable.

“When you share an attachment or upload it to the cloud, once you click send, you have to hope someone doesn’t do anything bad with it. And you can’t take it back,” Auld says.

Businesses rely on policies to keep data secure, Auld says. LockDown uses technology instead. The company also sees a market in applying its technology to other companies’ login systems.

Will LockDown achieve startup success?

“The intriguing things about LockDown are the market size, the market need and the number of potential users and uses. Even at a small level of market penetration, the investment could be very lucrative for a potential investor. Additionally, with data management and cybersecurity as such hot spaces, this makes for a very compelling opportunity for a VC investor.”

Potential Investor: Lindsay Karas Stencel, Partner, NCT Ventures

Lindsay Karas Stencel

“LockDown helps companies maintain control of their information without having to worry about where the data resides. As a chief information security officer, my biggest concern is not the nation-sponsored hacking groups, but the well-intentioned employee who makes a critical mistake. Applying strong control to who can and cannot access my data wherever it may end up is a critical business security function.”

Industry Expert: Chris Huntington, Chief Information Security Officer, Nexigen

Chris Huntington

“LockDown’s potential is helping a customer go directly to the root of a potential issue, securing the document and allowing that customer to move away from policy or trust-based security of intellectual property. Their solution will allow the customer to accomplish this without creating additional overhead on the normal users of documents.”

Potential User: Sean Henry, Senior MIS Manager, American Showa

Sean Henry

PopCom Pursuing Pot, Token Sale

PopCom, a Columbus company that developed software for smart vending machines, is using blockchain technology to go a step further in its business. PopCom’s latest product enables the sale of government-regulated products such as cannabis, pharmaceuticals and alcohol in vending machines. The company has launched a security token offering with a minimum investment of $252. PopCom’s goal is to raise $945,000 in a 90-day period. The sale opened Dec. 20 and had raised $55,000 as of Jan. 14.

PopCom has raised $900,000 from angels and venture capital firms to date, founder Dawn Dickson says.

“By raising money through Title II Reg CF, I can now take money from anyone,” Dickson says in a release. “Now people can invest in a tech company and get in early. Too often I watched underrepresented communities left out of deals. Now anyone can support.”