“Data protection is not only a cost for companies, but it’s also an opportunity”
Nowadays companies must communicate and improve how they manage customer data, but at the same time, data is in silos with no way of efficiently retrieving it when needed. KEEP Systems is automating this process and in doing so, also strengthens customer trust and user experience.
Tell us about more yourself ( the two co-founders) and your team?
Our founding team is made up of three founders. We are all Estonians, we’ve known each other for about 10 years ( we met at Kanye West’s concert in Poland and we can say that the love has been strong ever since)
Rasmus and Kristjan both hold an MSc in information science, Mikk is the “technical” founder with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science we have a wide range of working experience from dishwashing, festivals organisation, Estonian air forces till working with some of the biggest car manufacturers in Europe.
What makes your team invincible?
We work great together and everyone understands what we’re doing and why. It really helps us all be focused and aligned. There is this unwritten and unspoken rule to our dynamic where we check our egos at the door when we contribute to our joint entrepreneurship because we are all basically exploring and combining ideas that do not have a definitive previous experience behind them. What we don’t know we figure out together; and what we do know, we trust the one holding the knowledge.
From where did you get the inspiration for your business idea ?
Ours came from an information science Master’s degree curriculum mixed with fitness trackers, a splash of passion toward data activism, and a conscious wish and effort to improve the data literacy of the society in which we live. This is not a recipe, though. But even if it were, we’ll hold on to some of its secret ingredients.
What is unique about your business?
Personal data protection is generally a very domain-specific, jargon-y topic and its real life implications take a lot of effort to understand. We see the need to make data protection accessible to everyone, so we have to dissolve the fog and make it as easy as possible for companies to get started. Basically, we’re fixing a communication and accessibility problem in how, on the one hand, organizations manage personal data and, on the other hand, how those practices are conveyed and made intelligible to their customers. That is why our focus is on data subjects’ rights management – the touchpoint between companies and their customers where transparency has the capacity to turn into trust. To sum it up, then, the unique factor in our approach lies in securing that both parties understand each other by using the GDPR as an opportunity and not only as a cost.
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered so far?
On a policy level data protection has been on the minds of companies only since the introduction of the GDPR. We’re 3 years in, and companies are still uncertain about how to react, which makes our job a bit harder because we also have to educate them and show them how taking data protection seriously can help their business. Luckily the EU is becoming more mature and instead of being reactive towards companies not being compliant, they are finally ready to be proactive. Besides that, our current IT systems are mostly built without any regard to data protection, and if you have a whole system built in one way, it’s difficult to show how we need to change that.
What means success for you?
It comes down to doing meaningful work. If we can accelerate the adoption of data protection-first mentality and witness the difference it makes in our environment, we’ll be happy. Success for us is taking one step back but two steps forward.
Which characteristic do you think will make you successful?
Fall in love with the problem, not the solution or a product version. It’s a guiding principle in our team, which means that we listen to what our users and customers (potential or otherwise) are saying. The problem remains the same, but the solution and how we fix the problem can change over time – either because the problem space evolves objectively (the breadth and depth of data protection regulation) or subjectively (we get smarter).
Which famous personality or company would you like to be your client? Why?
Facebook, so that 2,8 billion people could finally have a bit more to say about their personal data.
Meet the dream team: