Latvian cybersecurity startup NotaKey off to Kickstart accelerator

Latvian cybersecurity startup NotaKey has already participated in the Plug&Play accelerator in Madrid earlier this year, while now it is leaving for another accelerator – Kickstart in Zurich, Switzerland.

One of the founders of the company, Jānis Graubiņš tells Labs of Latvia that NotaKey will leave for Zurich on August 22, and the program will continue for 11 weeks until mid-November.

“Initially I will go to the accelerator alone, I’ll be later joined by my colleague Gints Kiršteins, and the third NotaKey co-founder Jānis Kiršteins will join us if we have to reach agreement on cooperating with the UBS bank or Credit Suisse,” says Jānis.

He explains that the key advantages of going to the accelerator include cooperation with the existing partners, establishment of new contacts and, at the end of the program, launching a test version of the product together with the banks participating in the program.

NotaKey is developing an authentication system that enables the user to log into his or her online bank account without the usual code cards or calculators, replacing them by a far more convenient and inexpensive solution for smartphones (there is no need to buy any additional equipment for authentication).

This problem will be high on the agenda in the near future as all European Union banks have to introduce additional security functions by 2018 – strong two-factor authentication, based on the European Commission’s Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

The Kickstart accelerator gives the participants 10,000 Swiss francs (approximately EUR 9,230) and covers the cost of living for two team members. Should they be joined by a third team member, he or she will not be provided accommodation but issued a scholarship.

Startups with the greatest growth potential are awarded additional 15,000 Swiss francs in conclusion of the program.

At any rate, establishment of new contacts and cooperation with Swiss banks will be very valuable, notes Jānis, as the NotaKey business deals with European Union regulations, while most Swiss banks have branches in other European countries.

“We already are in talks with Latvian banks at the moment. Task forces are being set up now, the real work will begin in 2017 when the technical criteria will have been defined and it will be clear how the European Commission expects banks to improve security,” says the NotaKey founder.

As reported, another Latvian startup, Drofie will also participate in the accelerator in Switzerland along with NotaKey. Drofie is developing pocket drones.