In another indication that Austin’s roster of blockchain-related startups is growing quickly, a new firm with about 25 employees, $15 million in funding and an enviable roster of software-veteran advisors, has come out of stealth mode to launch today.
ALTR, which is focused on using the underlying blockchain technology that caught fire with cryptocurrencies for enterprise-grade security, is being led by CEO David Sikora, former executive chairman and CEO at Stratfor.
Sikora said in a phone interview that the technology has been under development for more than four years by a group of former traders who realized that moving billions of dollars through existing channels was inherently insecure.
“When they did the forensic analysis of where their data was traveling and which data centers it was going through, they really did not have control of their data,” Sikora said. “That’s how it got started.”
Sikora came on about a year ago as an angel investor and says that blockchain tech has evolved over the past few years to accommodate what ALTR is trying to do, which involves massive amounts of processing power and big bandwidth pipes to function.
“When I saw it, my first thought was, if this really works, this could significantly change the way enterprise data is stored,” he said.
As opposed to using public blockchain technology as cryptocurrency technology typically does, Sikora said that ALTR can break up information — whether it’s a group of social security numbers or a company’s entire data set— and store it in private blockhain nodes. Those nodes can exist on ALTR’s systems, within a client’s systems or even on cloud services. The fragmented information only reassembles under the control of the client. Sikora says the gamechanger is storing actual data in the blockchain, not just records of a data transaction.
ALTR’s lead investor is Ronin Capital CEO John Stafford III and the software company has attracted advisers including IBM and Microsoft veteran Mike Maples, Sr.; U.S. Diplomatic Security Service alum Fred Burton, former U.S. Department of Homeland Security CTO Michael Hermus; Spiceworks co-founder Scott Abel and former CA CEO John Swainson.
Sikora said the software is already being used and that ALTR will announce some of its clients in the coming months. It is headquartered in Austin with an office near Loop 360 and Bee Cave Road.