We caught up with Adam Hildreth, founder and CEO of Premier Festival Sponsors Crisp, to discuss their involvement with the festival and thoughts on the future of the cyber security industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role within Crisp.
I’m the founder and CEO of Crisp. I started my first business in 1999 at the age of 15. Dubit was one of the world’s first social media networks and one of the most popular websites for teenagers; I became aware of the need to protect people online and founded Crisp in 2005. Over the years we’ve helped the UK Government develop online child protection laws.
Today Crisp provides 24/7/365 early-warning risk intelligence as a service for leading brands, global enterprises and social media platforms, guaranteeing our customers are always the first to know and act. Trained on 15+ years of online harm detection, Crisp’s real-time knowledge graph predicts, discovers, tracks, rapidly alerts and removes harmful content. We analyze billions of instigator and influencer signals from the open, deep, dark web and closed messaging apps, going where no one else goes.
This technology is used by a global team of experts specializing in signals intelligence, linguistics, big data, AI, human intelligence, psychology, data protection, and law and regulation. It has become an early warning and threat intervention system for high-impact, business-critical incidents and issues. By observing influencers and instigators in real-time, we guarantee our customers will be the first to know and act.
Our aim since we started has been to help make the digital world a safer place for everyone. We work with some of the biggest enterprises, brands and social platforms in the world, creating safe, daily online experiences for over 2.2 billion users (covering an estimated 450 million children) across the globe.
Why did Crisp decide to get involved with Leeds Digital Festival?
Although over 95% of our revenue is generated overseas, we’re a proud Leeds company. Whilst we have sales and marketing functions in our Chicago office, all of our tech is developed in our Leeds head office.
We decided to sponsor the Leeds Digital Festival as it’s important to support the growth of the local tech community. We’re a fast-growing firm, having doubled in staff numbers in the last year, so we’d like Leeds to be seen as a viable alternative to London for talented people working in the sector. The Digital Festival has certainly helped put the Leeds tech sector on the map.
What do you enjoy most about being based here in Leeds?
We want our staff to have a great work-life balance and you can have that in Leeds. Whether you choose to live in the city, the suburbs or further afield, you can choose a great lifestyle and mix city working with access to beautiful countryside. Crisp and other firms in Leeds offer world-class tech roles, without having to commute for hours. And we now have a Premier League football team again!
What does the future of the cyber security industry look like?
It’s more important than ever that the public has confidence in technology and it’s been great to see a number of recent initiatives where the industry is coming together to protect the public in even more ways. In April this year, we were pleased to be one of the founding members of a new body called the Online Safety Tech Industry Association (OSTIA) – the association was even launched during April’s Leeds Digital Festival.
We’ve also been continuing to work with other firms and the UK Government to launch a study and a white paper which showed the significant growth of ‘safety tech’ businesses and how the UK is leading the world.
We were particularly pleased that, due to Crisp’s work in this area, Leeds was named as one of four significant hubs for online safety innovation.
Image Credit: Kane Fulton