Jan 28, 2014 11:31 AM EST
Daniel Robichaud is a graduate of Montreal's HEC University. Daniel is a recognized leader in the investment and technology industries, a Limited Partner in two VC funds as well as a member of Angel Investor Groups. After selling his first company in 2006 to a Global Fortune 500 firm, Daniel started five other successful businesses. Among them Streamtheworld.com sold to a California group, Mobilito sold to the biggest ad agency in Canada and Radioactif, an ISP that merged with an established cable company.
As CEO of PasswordBox, Daniel applies his entrepreneurial spirit and investment wisdom to nurture his life project. PasswordBox is an innovative free service that allows users to store, create, retrieve and share passwords and other personal information, giving them greater control over their digital property - during life and after. Droid Report recently interviewed Daniel Robichaud about his current role at PasswordBox,
Droid Report: Hello Daniel, Congratulations on PasswordBox recently celebrating its winning of Best Mobile App at the 2014 CES Mobile App Showdown in Las Vegas. Can you tell us more about your role as CEO and some insight on the company’s upcoming initiatives for 2014?
Daniel Robichaud: Sure. I'm a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. PasswordBox is my 6th venture, which I co-founded with CTO, Marc-Antoine Ross. (Some of my past successful companies include Streamtheworld.com which sold to a California group, Mobilito which sold to the biggest ad agency in Canada and Radioactif, and ISP that merged with an established cable company). PasswordBox was founded in 2012, but launched out of private beta in June of 2013. Four months after, PasswordBox reached over 1 million users and was featured in the Google Play store as the #2 overall trending app. 2014 is going to be another exciting year - we’ve got some really great features planned for the product, and we’ll have a major announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month, one that is going to be a game-changer in the industry.
Droid Report: How did you come about becoming CEO at PasswordBox and choosing, security?
Daniel Robichaud: The inspiration behind PasswordBox came from a visit to my mother's home. She was scanning and uploading 1-2 generations of family photos to Picasa and that same weekend, she was in a car accident. Fortunately, she was fine and nothing bad happened, but it got me thinking - what does happen to our all of our digital ‘stuff’ if something happens to us? I created PasswordBox as the answer to that question - a secure way to manage and access your online information that’s efficient and simple enough for everyday use, but that also gives you the tools to protect your digital legacy.
The focus on security is a necessary one - our users have confidence that their data is accessible to them and only them, but they also want the easy browsing experience we deliver. It’s not the easiest thing to reconcile a convenient, simple user experience with security - and many other password managers have not done a great job of this - but I am proud to know that PasswordBox is a product that even my mother, who’s not tech-savvy, uses and loves.
Droid Report: What exactly does PasswordBox do?
Daniel Robichaud: PasswordBox is an innovative free service that allows you to store, create, retrieve and share your passwords and other personal information, giving you greater control over your digital property - during life and after. In addition to password management, we also provide tools like a strong password generator, Safe Notes for storing private documents, secure password sharing and our new digital Wallet for credit cards, passports, and other sensitive personal documents. We support all major browsers and devices, so PasswordBox users can access their data anytime and anywhere.
Droid Report: What is your current perspective on the evolution of digital life management within your industry?
Daniel Robichaud: Every day we manage more of our personal lives online, from tracking our bank accounts to paying utilities to checking in with social networks and more. And yet we consistently overlook the growing responsibility of managing and protecting our digital legacy, and fail to acknowledge just how cumbersome tracking all of those online assets can be. I believe digital life management will grow - both in public awareness, and as an industry - and we’re quickly approaching the tipping point now. People need a system and authentication tool to manage all their digital assets, and I’m confident that PasswordBox will be the gateway point for people to access their digital life.
Droid Report: Earlier last year, enterprises including PayPal and Lenovo joined to form the FIDO Alliance (Fast IDentity Online) to develop open authentication standards to eliminate passwords and improve online security through use of software, hardware, and services for identification. What is your thought on satisfaction in reference to this type of architecture?
Daniel Robichaud: The password has been around for a long time and will continue to be the prime means of security online. We heard a lot in 2013 about biometrics and other online identity tools and it will probably rise the technology bar in the next year. Even as people start to use biometrics more, there will still be a need for passwords as websites will not be able to adapt to the technology changes as quickly. PasswordBox wants to be the bridge between biometric and those sites who still use a username and password.
Droid Report: What main successful features have you seen stand out with PasswordBox?
Daniel Robichaud: Legacy Locker has been a successful and important feature for our users. The ability to pass on your digital assets in the event that something happens to you is important and unique to PasswordBox as a password manager.
Droid Report: What challenges do you see organizations are faced with in security and digital life management?
Daniel Robichaud: Security is something that requires constant care and attention. The challenge of always advancing and growing with new technologies that are being released is important and essential to our business. We treat this challenge with the utmost attention and priority.
Droid Report: PasswordBox makes it easy to store unique passwords for users online accounts, with a password generator. In a recent company blog post, your company shared a brief list of useful security tips. Dan, do you personally have any favorites?
Daniel Robichaud: The password generator makes it very easy to create and store unique passwords for each of your online accounts. My favorite tip is simply to take the time to update your passwords. It is easy to be lazy and reuse the same password across accounts, but by doing this you run the risk of greater damage if your accounts are ever attacked. The time invested in making a new password with the generator provides a very high ROI to protect your online accounts.
Droid Report: As mobile grows, how has the company’s strategic plans been to better manage user security?
Daniel Robichaud: We have some very exciting technology that is coming out for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain that will change the way apps interact on your phone. It is patent-pending technology that we are very excited to be launching soon.
Droid Report: How do you view the maturity of mobile security today?
Daniel Robichaud: Password managing solutions are still an early adopter tool, so I think the industry as a whole has incredible potential for growth - but there are limited products available that are straightforward enough for the average online consumer to use. It's so important to provide a solution that is not only easy to use and secure, but meets the need of managing, maintaining and keeping your digital stuff accessible, no matter where you are.
With many people having more than one device (phone, tablet, computer), PasswordBox believes being a multi-device, multi-platform and multi-account manager gives people the ability to be anywhere, and still have the access they need to properly manage and protect their digital stuff.
Droid Report: As PasswordBox states, “Online identity, mobile commerce and password management are a focus for many tech companies.” Are there any major risks in your view that these organizations can fall victim too?
Daniel Robichaud: I think the greatest risk is forgetting that the end user needs to be able to understand - and feel confident in - using the product. Many password managers are built by, for lack of a better description, security geeks - not for someone like my mother. Consumers want the best of both worlds - they want convenience and security, and I think we have done a great job of meeting that demand with PasswordBox.
Droid Report: Is there anything else you feel Android users and the Android market should know?
Daniel Robichaud: Our Android users are incredibly supportive of what we’re doing - they’ve been such a great source of feedback on what’s working, what needs improvement, what they’d like to see added to the product in the future. It’s definitely a conversation that we value, which is why we have a private Android beta test group to test out early versions of features - users can request a spot in the beta group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by getting in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
We would like to thank Daniel Robichaud for taking the time for this discussion and PasswordBox.
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