Startup Spotlight #50 xKey

September 18, 2020

Security is one of the major issues that financial institutions care about. Security holes result in huge problems in data protection. Due to stolen data, individuals can face really big issues in their accounts. Blockchain technology gives us a significant opportunity to cope with security gaps. Using this technology, data protection concerns seem to be handled. Our startup spotlight guest this week is xKey, which offers a pretty cool SaaS technology for digital asset security. One of the co-founders Chris des Fontaines told us about their journey.

What is the name of your startup?


What is the website address of Xkey?

Where is your startup based?


What are your targeted verticals for your startup?

CyberSecurity, Blockchain, Fintech, and Enterprise SaaS

Tell us what your startup does.

Xkey builds pure SaaS technology for digital asset security. It's a safe, cloud-native custody platform as a service that helps financial institutions—from startups to Tier-1 banks—transition to digital assets.

Tell us about your team.

Clarisse Hagège, CEO. Ex SciencesPo, Dauphine, Sorbonne, NYU. 10 years of Investment Banking at CA-CIB, BAML & Goldman Sachs. Coverage Banking, Trade Finance, Chief of Staff.Bernhard Borges, CTO. PhD, MBA. Ex SFU, Max Planck Institute. 15 years of applied cryptography at IBM, PwC, and Dock Systems. Experience in decentralized systems, service architectures & IoT.Chris des Fontaines, COO. Management at Dauphine. 10 years of Entrepreneurship as a C-level for startups. Founded a SportsTech SaaS, a talent recruitment platform & a Tiktok for pros.Steven Pattison, CCSO. Computational Physics at Penn State. Expertise in data privacy & standardization initiatives (GDPR, CCPA, SSI, VCDM). Ex Dock Systems, Codex Worlds.

When and why did you found your startup?

Last year, Clarisse purchased IOV tokens during their ICO. She was completely confused by the hardship surrounding private key management. It was virtually super easy to lose the €20k she'd bought. So she looked into it and discovered that billions of dollars had been lost since 2010. This struck her as the biggest hurdle to blockchain mass adoption.As she investigated all the available custodial stacks for cryptocurrencies, she met the founder of Zengo at Blockchain Week in Berlin who told her about TSS (Threshold Signature Scheme). Though some companies had started exploiting the primitive, she realized they were using it in a very limiting way. Following that week, she wrote an article on Medium about how digital asset mass adoption could only happen if an institution-grade security infrastructure was built for institutions. To her surprise, she was invited by AXA Insurance to pitch her idea. The meeting went so well that she came out of it resigning from the Investment Banking job she had for 10 years to start building Xkey. As we see it today, we're solving a billion-person problem if we can enable the digital asset market by providing unquestionable security.

Tell us about the numbers that matter to you.

  1. MRR is our North Star Metric. Money talks.
  2. MRR/AAR Rate. Going from Monthly to Annual Plans is a strong client commit.
  3. Growth Rate. The number of new account sign-ups per month followed by AAARR.
  4. NPS. Last but not least, the Net Promoter Score to evaluate client satisfaction.

What are your plans for next year and next 5 years?

The next 12 mo will be dedicated to (1) reach PMF by iterating the product and becoming RC-ready in September 2021, (2) make revenue asap, (3) get all compliance certifications in the EU and the US, and (4) be able to compete on all major RFPs as the fastest market share winner.Within 5 years, Xkey aims to be the Stripe of digital asset security, the financial world’s #1 security service provider.

Did you receive any investments?

Self-funding. €30k so far.

Tell us 3 startups that excite you, and why?

Phantombuster, because of their product iteration speed and execution quality. They've outcompeted Apify by pure WoM. Zero ads.Algolia, because they've discretely provided all the search bars of the internet (except Google's) without making a big deal out of it.Multis, because the CEO is an awesome YC-backed French founder who's decided to create a crypto-first bank from scratch. And because he's one of our first clients!

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