Q&A Wednesday :: Toopher

Today’s Q&A Wednesday is with Toopher co-founder and CEO Josh Alexander.

Q: Explain what you do in a way that my mom can understand.
Toopher saves consumers and businesses billions by preventing online fraud and identity theft. We do this using the location-awareness of your smartphone. This way, you can actually just leave your phone in your pocket, and your online security increases exponentially.

Q: What was your “lightbulb” moment when you knew you had something?
Online security is a huge problem – last year the global economy lost over $114 billion – that’s the equivalent of loosing Peru. We knew anything we did to solve this problem would be a good idea; however, we knew we had a great product when the first response from executives from major financial institutions and security companies upon seeing Toopher is, “Wow.”

Q: Who are the hard working geniuses behind the company?

Evan Grim – Founder & CTO
Evan is Toopher’s evil genius. Born of necessity, love, and a healthy dose of good ‘ol paranoia, Evan birthed Toopher as his personal solution to defend his sensitive data online. But who better to write the next-generation security solution than a Software-Engineering PhD candidate with nearly a decade of experience in the security and network industry? Evan gained this experience as a Research Engineer at the Southwest Research Institute.

Evan is working on a PhD in Software Engineering in the Mobile and Pervasive Computing Lab at The University of Texas at Austin.

Josh Alexander – Co-Founder & CEO
It’s always ironic when the guy in charge of strategic vision wears glasses. Josh is Toopher’s business juggernaut. With a deep and extensive background in investments, strategy, corporate finance, and enough tech know-how to be dangerous, Josh manages Toopher’s corporate and business development. Josh’s experience includes Adjunct Professor of Finance at the McCombs School of Business (UT Austin), Sr. Advisor at Durbin Bennett Peterson, CFO of Lucas Petroleum, and Consultant at Tucker Alan. Josh earned an MBA in Finance and Strategic Management with honors from the Wharton School, a BA in the Plan II Honors Program with special and high honors and a BBA in Finance with honors from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Professional Certification in Computer Science from Stanford University

Little known fact – Josh and Evan have known each other for over 15 years – in 1999 they were runners-up in the Tom Clark High School Talent Show.

Q: What is the “secret sauce” that will make you shine above the competitors?
Our secret sauce is location-awareness. Others have used the smartphone as a tool for authentication, but never in a passive way that gives users all of the security without any of the hassle. That’s Toopher’s intellectual property – we give users all of the benefits of current two-factor technology without the cost or hassle.

Q: We’ll know we made it when:
Toopher is committed to building a wildly successful company and solving an incredible problem. We could throw out all sorts of compelling benchmarks – earning over $100 million in revenue, creating high quality, sustainable jobs in Austin, or being invited to Mark Zuckerberg’s house, but ultimately, we’ll know we made it when we begin to reverse the trend of pernicious cybercrime growth.

About Bryan Menell

Bryan is the Managing Editor for AustinStartup and the CEO of Mahana. He is a co-founder of Capital Factory, an investor and advisor, and runs the popular Austin Tech Happy Hour with his wife.