LAAVAT – a swift new start based on years of security expertise - Business Tampere Magazine

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LAAVAT is a Tampere-based company that creates security solutions for PKI, digital signing and encryption with world class key management expertise. It is a startup with a truly flying start.

The story of LAAVAT begins in the same manner that do many other startups’ journey nowadays in the Tampere Region. At first there was Nokia, later Microsoft, and a lot of world-class solutions and products were made over the years, expertise gained.

Then came the day to put the knowhow into new use. For Kaustabh Debbarman and Lauri Hokkanen May 2017 was the time to found a company called LAAVAT, becoming active in the following autumn and making an unexceptionally swift start for a startup.

LAAVAT team, security expertise in Tampere
Photo: LAAVAT

– At first it was maybe a bit light-hearted talk between colleagues over a beer, but it soon got serious. We had our first customer deal before we set up the company, remembers Debbarman, CEO at LAAVAT.

– And there has been no need to hunt for customers after that, either. It seems that big companies are come to us, because they need our security solutions and our exp

ertise. We have full books and we are financially well off, says Hokkanen, CTO at LAAVAT.

Credibility is sometimes an issue with startups, but thanks to the background in Nokia, never with LAAVAT. Its co-founders simply continued to do what they had done for a long time and with an excellent global reputation in the network created by Nokia.

– People already know we are good at what we do, Debbarman concludes.

World class security expertise

LAAVAT is concentrating on a relatively narrow field of security expertise. The company creates secure and reliable enterprise solutions for PKI, digital signing and encryption with world class key management expertise. They help customers mitigate security risks and comply with policies and regulations.

– We have worked for HERE and a couple of other big customers. We have deployed mission-critical solutions in, for example, manufacturing of connected devices and we are building a solution for IoT security with a partner, Debbarman says.

LAAVAT is determined to develop as a business and has an advisory board to help with strategic development, growth management and market awareness. At the end of November the company was happy to share the news of well-known names appointed to the board.

Growth in sight

At the time of the interview (mid-December 2018) LAAVAT consisted of five persons and is looking forward to recruit to better focus on their product creation.  LAAVAT is a product based company and as such not seeking extensive growth. Hokkanen estimates that maybe 20–30 people would be an optimal size one day.

– What we need at this point is skilled senior developers. Experience in security would be useful, but not necessary. Our company’s security expertise is so strong that a good dev can pick it up along the way, Hokkanen says.

One member of the existing team is Juha Kivitalo, who has worked for LAAVAT for a year. He leads all product development activities and participates in them as well. Kivitalo enjoys the startup environment: being in the heart of all that happens and able to have an effect on how the work is done now and in the future.

– In LAAVAT a developer can work in a nice, international atmosphere, with good tools and new technologies – and really see what one has accomplished. I’ve been doing some truly interesting things in this company already, Kivitalo says.

Helping the startup community

Business Tampere is working to enhance cooperation among the safety and security sector in the Tampere Region. LAAVAT is quite ready to cooperate with other security companies to make the region more visible in the field.

– We would be especially happy if Tampere would attract more security talent to the region. I’d like to see professionals move here to work in local companies, in the same way that is already happening in the imaging business, Debbarman says.

– We would also like to help the local startup community by advising startups, typically those who make connected devices and need guidance with security. We could do it pro bono because it is our way of giving something back, Hokkanen states.

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