Blue chip dig­i­tal se­cu­rity firm tar­get­ing new hires and clients

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS / NEWS - Mark Casci BUSI­NESS EDITOR @MarkCasci

Dig­i­tal se­cu­rity firm Crisp Think­ing is look­ing to quadru­ple its cus­tomer base over the next three years and em­bark on a new round of hires.

The firm re­cently opened a new 7,000 sq ft unit in Leeds’s Cen­tral Square de­vel­op­ment as it looks to ex­pand upon its blue chip client base that boasts the likes of Co­caCola, Dis­ney and Chanel.

Now 13 years old, the firm – founded by Adam Hil­dreth – is look­ing to build on its vastly ex­panded growth in re­cent years, hav­ing boosted rev­enues by a record 70 per cent in the past 12 months.

Crisp acts as a guardian for busi­ness by look­ing at their so­cial me­dia pres­ence for signs of toxic, il­le­gal and brand-dam­ag­ing con­tent. On­line crime is es­ti­mated to cost $1m a minute in the United States alone.

The com­pany uses its own ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence sys­tems to mon­i­tor every­thing in real time and in more than 50 lan­guages, with more than 100 peo­ple em­ployed in the UK and a net­work of 500 more world­wide.

Mr Hil­dreth, in­set, told The York­shire Post: “Dur­ing the last three years we have had big growth of 50 per cent plus year-on-year

“This year will be our big­gest at 90 per cent. Plus we will be adding an­other 50 to 60 peo­ple to the team and al­ready tak­ing more space.

“We ex­pect to in­crease this. We want to hit over 100 per cent yearon-year growth. That will mean hir­ing more peo­ple and also ex­pand­ing glob­ally in terms of the ter­ri­to­ries we touch. The mar­ket is ab­so­lutely mas­sive and we want to go even fur­ther. We want to quadru­ple our cus­tomer base over the next three years.”

It fo­cuses on three core ar­eas, namely en­sur­ing chil­dren’s mar­kets are safe, pro­tect­ing the so­cial me­dia pres­ence of big brands and pro-ac­tively iden­ti­fy­ing prob­lems.

Crisp has sought to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it­self from the com­pe­ti­tion by re­ly­ing on a mix­ture of tech­nol­ogy and hu­man in­ter­fac­ing.

Its sys­tems an­a­lyse every­thing from pic­tures, text and video on­line to iden­tify risks.

“The big­gest thing AI can bring is speed. AI will look at the im­por­tant things first. It be­comes more ac­cu­rate, the more con­tent peo­ple look that the less ac­cu­rate they will be­come. We are al­ways go­ing to need peo­ple, we are not getting to the point of AI calling 999 or 911 to re­port an is­sue. You need a per­son to do that. But it can make sure that that per­son has the right amount of time to look at it, as­sess it and de­cide what needs to be done.

“They then be­come more ef­fi­cient about what they do.”

Head­quar­tered in Leeds since its 2005 in­cep­tion, the firm pre­dom­i­nantly works with North Amer­ica-based brands.

How­ever, Mr Hil­dreth is adamant he wants to keep the com­pany in the city: “I think we have the best of both worlds. We have large global cus­tomers which could be based any­where in the world.

“But we have all of our re­search and en­gi­neer­ing side of things based out of Leeds where we have bril­liant univer­si­ties and bril­liant tal­ent.

“We are in­tro­duc­ing Leeds into a lot of global brands who might not have heard of the city.”

Af­ter work­ing to tackle bad ac­tions on­line for more than 13 years, Mr Hil­dreth says that sex of­fend­ers, trolls and on­line crim­i­nals are adopt­ing ever-more so­phis­ti­cated tech­niques to evade de­tec­tion.

Com­par­ing the dy­namic to an arms race, he said: “Every time we think we have found a point to stop them they find a way to evade us. Now we are getting bet­ter and tech­nol­ogy is getting faster.

“We are con­stantly clos­ing the gap.”

We want to hit over 100 per cent yearon-year growth.

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