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SafeStack Academy raises $2.3m to export security know how

Laura Bell SafeStack Academy

Laura Bell has raised $2.2m to expand her online security training platform SafeStack Academy. Jelix Ventures lead a raft of local investors in the round.


Australia’s AFR reports the news: NAB among backers as ‘moral hacker’ gets $2.2m to teach techies her tricks.

Natasha Gillezeau writes:

SafeStack Academy was born of a pandemic pivot after Ms Bell’s consultancy, SafeStack, suffered a 94 percent drop in revenue as many of her small business and start-up customers halted their spending on security because of economic uncertainty.

On SafeStack Academy, software developers and regular employees can learn how to build good security culture and measures into their products, software and processes.

That’s good to hear. Bell’s consultancy had an interesting, enlightened take on cyber security.

Upending the fear driven security pitch

Security companies often work hard to scare customers into parting with money for services or products that only go part way to making them safe.

They may share raw information about threats, but often in ways that limit the transfer of useful knowledge to customers.

Fear may work as a sales pitch. But savvy customers want more from a security partner.

Educate, inform and protect

Safestack took the opposite approach. Bell and her team worked to educate the people and businesses who are most vulnerable to attack. That’s usually small businesses and organisations. She makes an effort to take fear out of the conversation and replace that with the knowledge people need to be confident about dealing with threats in a sensible way.

Bell clearly loves her speciality.

Earlier this year she told me: “Security is really exciting once you get past the doom and gloom. It has some of the fastest paced technology challenges you can find.

“…I wanted to support all of these tiny companies who, from New Zealand want to build their own little digital cathedrals and they want to do securely without breaking the bank.

“I get to look at their legacies and think; yeah, I did a little towards making things better for New Zealand or better for those people, or in the case of helping charities and non-profits, better for that group of people who would never be able to afford security normally.”

Along the way Bell has been responsible for hundreds of New Zealanders choosing cyber security as a career. The Safestack Academy will take that leadership role further and help spread a more intelligent security mind set.