FortNynja: Building a Cybersecurity Company in a Time of Uncertainty
The FBI recently revealed that cybercrimes involving email scams alone cost victims $1.7billion in adjusted losses. And during the current pandemic, cybercrime cases grew by as much as 300%.
“The reason we keep receiving these scam emails is because cybercrime is a very lucrative business; it’s booming!” says Jenna Huey Ching, Co-Founder of FortNynja. Founded during the coronavirus outbreak, FortNynja is a startup that helps businesses with cybersecurity programs to protect their companies.
Meet the entrepreneurs behind FortNynja
Co-founders Jenna & Fang-ming first met at the Adelaide Airport. Jenna was on a family holiday and Fang-ming was asked by their mutual friend, Momo, to take care of his business partner. Upon noticing that their conversation moved quickly from kangaroos and koalas to opportunities involving solving cybersecurity challenges, they knew they could leverage each other’s skillset to build a business and serve the community.
Before founding FortNynja, Jenna’s had a multifaceted career in legal, fintech & regulation, whilst Fang-ming has had experience in growing SMEs bigger and better. Jenna: “I’m an experienced lawyer and built Malaysia’s FinTech and innovation community, collaborating with regulators, financial institutions, and startups. I’ve also brought two of Hong Kong’s most prominent FinTech players to Malaysia: SuperCharger, a leading FinTech accelerator, and Finnovasia. Fang, my co-founder, has worked for some of Malaysia’s most renowned companies such as Hong Leong Bank and AirAsia, where he was working directly under Tony Fernandes. Our experience ranges from regulation, corporate law, FinTech, business consulting, aviation, online gaming and innovation. Our mutli-disciplinary approach, deep network and broad experience is what sets us apart.”
Collaboration is key
While there are indeed many factors that go into building effective cybersecurity programs, FortNynja shares a few important pointers with us.
“One of the key factors in implementing a successful cybersecurity policy is getting buy-in from the entire organisation. We make sure to work with everyone in the company. From tech teams to regulators, from the top of an organisation right through to the workers on the ground. It is difficult to properly secure an organization, unless you’re spanning all levels of a company, and working across teams,” explains Jenna.
Moreover, FortNynja doesn’t compete with other technology providers in the market. Instead, they prefer to collaborate to find the best solutions for their clients.
“Companies that are working with only one service provider will only get one perspective on how to secure their systems. Not that that’s a bad thing. It just means that the solution will work for a period until cybercriminals get creative and find a way to break the solution. If you do a Wikipedia search on companies that have been hacked, you’ll clearly see that these companies were already working with a Cybersecurity company to assist with building their defence; and yet, their defences were still compromised. Properly protecting the entire system requires a collaborative effort,” shares Fang.
When different providers collaborate to offer end-to-end solutions, companies will get access to the right solutions at the right time and are able to tackle problems from different perspectives, consequently resulting in companies being able to better manage their risks.
Solving cybersecurity problems through the power of community
Since launching, Fortnynja has been steadily growing its business with a focus on spreading public awareness, via webinars, e-learning and digital roundtables.
Building an ecosystem not only benefits clients by educating them, it also brings together different cybersecurity providers and allows them to explore ways to collaborate, enhance their value proposition and grow together, instead of competing with one another.
“Our clients are companies looking for cybersecurity solutions as they pursue market expansion. They are technology companies in finance and regulated areas that would like to expand beyond their home turf and leverage our deep connections in the APAC region”, says Jenna. By working with FortNynja, these companies will get access to expert partners and leverage FortNynja’s knowledge of the local market.
Using Neat as a springboard to launch into Hong Kong
It made sense for Fortnynja to add a Hong Kong entity to its existing companies in Malaysia & Australia due to their client’s interest in expanding in the APAC region. While FortNynja’s current activities are mostly service-based, the new entity in Hong Kong is where the next phase of their innovation will take place.
“Hong Kong is one of the top places where we’ve always wanted to build our business. We took a business trip late last year to meet with potential partners and scope it out. Within two weeks we decided to incorporate here,” said Fang. “We found the speed of decision making and follow through on implementation very refreshing. Geographically, it’s also well positioned in APAC.”
Due to Neat’s reputation in the entrepreneurial community, FortNynja has incorporated an entity in Hong Kong and set up their Neat Business Account online in early March 2020.
“I heard a lot about Neat from Janos,” said Jenna, referring to the founder of the SuperCharger startup accelerator, where Neat was a cohort startup in their early days. “A lot of entrepreneurs in Hong Kong had been using Neat, especially international folks, so it was definitely our first option.”
It became obvious very quickly during this economic downturn amid the Covid-19 pandemic that getting a business account with a digital solution like Neat was the best way to move forward effortlessly. FortNynja was already gaining some initial traction in Hong Kong, and the team couldn’t wait until the pandemic was over in order to continue their business growth. The timely assistance that Neat provided has allowed for FortNynja to bring on board reputable partners like Microsoft, Force Point, Transperfect, Jumio, v-Key, Deacons & FinStep Asia.
“Since leaving Hong Kong last year, travel restrictions haven’t allowed us to return since. If our only choice was to go with a traditional bank account set up, we could have lost some very valuable clients and potentially impact the financial health of our startup”, Jenna explains, stressing the timeliness of it all. “We are thankful for Neat’s help in setting our accounts up to receive payments so seamlessly, intuitively and fuss free”.
With their Neat Business Account set up, FortNynja brought on board the first of many clients within a few weeks. This led to a very successful industry e-roundtable discussion which subsequently led to the launch of an industry article made available to the public.
Gaining traction throughout the region, supported by a passionate network
“Getting our first client within the first two months was a big win for us particularly with an uncertain economic climate. We’ve since been getting a lot of interest in terms of international partnerships, even beyond APAC”, said Jenna.
Next up, FortNynja is looking into partnering with government agencies, companies in the finance and banking industry, and other key sectors like healthcare, defense, and space. They are also now looking to hire a team in Hong Kong to grow their business in the region, service partners and continue building the ecosystem.
The common trait between all partners and potential team members?
Passion & Fun
“The team that we’ve gathered are very passionate about solving this [cybersecurity] problem. We’re still quite early on our journey and excited to achieve more of our goals and keen to still have fun along the way.”
From one entrepreneur to another, Jenna adds, “We know that the team in Neat shares the same passion for solving problems entrepreneurs face. We had a problem in setting up a bank account in Hong Kong and Neat came through with their alternative to a bank account. That was one of the main reasons why we chose to use Neat.”
Enabled by a network of entrepreneurs, team members, and partners who have a similar vision for innovation and change, FortNynja will continue to build collaborative solutions to solve issues involving cybersecurity.
Want to follow FortNynja’s growth journey? Register your interest at www.fortnynja.com to learn more from the partners they work with like Google, Microsoft and AWS.