Digital Shadows: One year after the Cisco BIG Awards

Computer Weekly’s Caroline Baldwin catches up with Alastair Paterson CEO and founder of the startup Digital Shadows.

The company has come on leaps and bounds over the past year.

Major milestones include taking on a number of tier one banks as clients, winning a place on the FinTech Innovation Lab in Canary Wharf, and taking part in the Infosec conference with Cisco.

“We’ve doubled the size of our team and we’re just closing our first venture capital round. So we have big plans for the next year,” says Paterson.

Challenges that Digital Shadows has faced over the past year revolve around money and financing. “Raising money is difficult because it’s time consuming. It’s a danger you get distracted raising money,” he says.

“I think the challenges we face are similar to other startups – you don’t have a lot of time and you’ve got to learn where to focus,” he adds. “It’s about engaging with customers, and what it is about what you do that they particularly like.”

Paterson says the credibility the company gained from being associated with Cisco was “enormous”. Having Cisco backing the company and saying that its technology is innovative has helped Digital Shadows walk into conversations with banks with more confidence.

He says there is a problem with the visa system in the UK, as it is difficult to hire talent from abroad. “Hiring really high-calibre tech people is incredibly difficult. There’s a lot of competition and not enough good people.”

Paterson says it is crucial that we attract the best and brightest people from around the world to solve this issue. “Anything the government can do to make that easier – at the moment it’s not easy enough – would make a big difference to us and a lot of companies, and help London become the tech hub it really should be,” he says.

Cisco BIG Awards 2013 has just announced its semi-finalists. From the 20 candidates, six finalists will be announced on 1 October from a public vote. The final on 14 November will consist of a Dragon’s Den-style pitch where the startups will present their business plans live to the judging panel.

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