txtsmarter, based in San Mateo, California, is an Enterprise Information Archiving compliance platform, which collects, encrypts & archives messages from text and social media applications, including Apple iMessage, Android SMS/MMS, WhatsApp in real-time mitigating compliance and communication data leaks for businesses. Over 125 billion SMS messages are sent daily. Over 1 trillion per year. The amount of potentially sensitive communications being exchanged daily is enormous. Hence to know more about Communication Compliance through txtsmarter, Regtechtimes interviewed CEO and Founder of txtsmater, Mr. Nuri Otus. Following are excerpts from the same-
You are the leaders in Regulatory Technologies – How do you define the term Regtech?
Thank you for the acknowledgement. Regtech has broad definitions and the number of disciplines seems to grow regularly. Disciplines include Compliance, AML, KYC, Digital Currencies and others. We focus solely in Compliance as it what we know and have been building for many years. Our service has been built from day one with two major pillars; Privacy and Security.
How big is your team and who are the critical players in your journey to build the successful Regtech company?
We are a group of about 10 technologists whose passion is to build a genuine solution to a $350 Billion-dollar problem. We are team and together when we our professional experience is combined it is a strong group who have built a new way to address an old problem.
Brief overview about your product/service offering?
The only plug & play enterprise mobile communications compliance and governance service to seamlessly capture all nonverbal communications on employee devices across SMS/MMS, iMessage and social media platforms. This helps to ensure that organizations are fully compliant with industry compliance and governance regulations, such as GDPR, CCPA, SEC, FDIC, 9FCA and FINRA. The txtsmarter mobile communications compliance & governance service serves financial institutions, registered investment advisors, insurance companies, law firms, private fund managers and others.
What inspired you to build the above product?
There are events in one’s life that change you forever. For me it was 2012, my life as I knew it was over. I faced unimaginable challenges. Afterwards, I thought to myself if I could have accessed my text messages none of this would have happened. Had my SMS/MMS/iMessage data been archived, I would have possessed the information I needed to fix the issues.
Txtsmarter was conceived from this experience. After quite a bit of research, it became clear that there was a huge need aside from my personal reasons for creating txtsmarter. This is why it is more than a company to me. It is an imperative.
The technology we have built makes mobile device data previously inaccessible, readily accessible. Our service is a transparent and secure solution for financial institutions to easily archive messages to comply with complex retention and privacy regulations.
What was the most challenging/critical aspect of your journey as the CEO of Txtsmarter?
One very important word EXECUTION. Building a company requires many areas in which one must focus. Recruiting is one that never stops. Another was getting our first customer. Our first customer turned out be an International Conglomerate. It was a significant validation of our work. Keeping the team focused in a similar direction while constantly adjusting for the landscape changes is another. I love the entrepreneurial journey, I wear different hats each day/week and I would not have it any other way.
How did you overcome initial mindset challenges of the regulators/supervisors?
Text and social media interaction are skyrocketing as a result of COVID; and the need to fill this gaping hole in compliance programs has becoming critical for companies and regulators.
Each week we speak with Chief Compliance Officers at large Banks, Insurance Companies and other multinational financial services corporations and where archiving messaging data was a long-term objective 9 months ago, it has since become a top discussion topic each week. That is a quote from the CTO of one the world’s largest financial services corporations. Regulators have had no choice but to make this a priority. If they do not, it is doubtful they will sleep at night.
Where do you see yourself in the next three years?
As focused on building our business as I am today. Only with a larger team and selling into the largest financial institutions in the world. In the meanwhile to repeat what I said earlier, it is all about execution.
Which countries do you feel you can expand to with your offerings?
We started operations in the US and opened a wholly owned subsidiary in the United Kingdom early in 2020. As most countries have archiving regulations already in place we expect to expand into Asia, South America and add more offices in other parts of Europe.
Have you built any consulting model for the consultants from different countries?
We recently agreed to our first reseller relationship. The details are in progress.
Your thoughts on use of emerging technologies like Blockchain, RPA, Machine Learning in Regulatory Domain.
These are exciting technologies many of which are on our roadmap as tools we will use to make our service more robust.