INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Shiran Weitzman on Growing a Company during a Worldwide Pandemic
Shiran Weitzman, CEO, and co-founder of Shield tells us about communication compliance.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Shiran Weitzman: We have been following the guidelines and keeping everyone safe. It has been a challenging time for everyone, but we are looking forward to a safe future where we all have more freedom of movement again.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Shield.
Shiran Weitzman: My journey to entrepreneurship started, as it does for many, with a seemingly unsolvable customer challenge. It is quite a revelation when, as a problem solver, you find there isn’t an obvious or readily available solution. In the grand tradition of entrepreneurs, I seized the opportunity to ‘fill the gap’ and take the journey that eventually led to myself and my colleagues setting up Shield.
This further widened my view of the RegTech sphere with the realization that it needs to look towards future needs, closely study the regulations and the challenges these are posing, anticipating what the market will require, and ensuring the right solution is in place just when it is needed. This seems like a common-sense approach but when we established the business in early 2018 it still seemed to be a surprisingly different strategy to the bigger, more established vendors who kept addressing the challenges with the same linear approach. We were the ’outsiders’ trying to do things differently – a tough challenge in a very traditional RegTech industry, but I am proud to say we have succeeded in showing the market there is a better option.
How does Shield innovate?
Shiran Weitzman: Financial Sector Regulatory Compliance is a complicated issue and with the rapid expansion of electronic communications this is becoming even more complex and potentially dangerous for businesses that are unprepared for it. From its inception, Shield has always taken the view that what effective Regulatory Compliance really needs is powerful automated systems that use AI/Machine Learning to do what a human simply cannot manage – to take a complete view of all the factors and extract accurate alerts and insights.
On top of this, our platform consolidates all this data into one central portal, ensuring the results are clearly and accurately displayed for compliance teams to quickly comprehend and take the appropriate action. We really understand the pressures on businesses and always strive to produce solutions that are powerful under the hood, but simple and effective for any professional to use.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Shiran Weitzman: Shield has been a bootstrap company since its inception, which ensures that we are completely self-financing and well balanced to take on unexpected occurrences, such as a pandemic! The pandemic created a surge in communications usage (take Zoom for example), a new work environment, and new regulatory challenges for our customers. That means that we were actually able to grow during this period, in overall business, and in the number of Shielders.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Shiran Weitzman: We haven’t had any issues with regards to the size of our team. Shield has the optimal team to provide the right solutions to our customers, whilst keeping the company agile and perfectly matched to the needs of our business. Seeing the opportunities in the markets, we actually doubled down on human resources and hired 10 new employees in the past year.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Shiran Weitzman: Whilst the pandemic has of course meant we cannot meet customers face to face as we would like to, we are focused on online technology, so it has been very straightforward to provide demonstrations and to deploy our solution, wherever it is needed. For the human interaction element, like most businesses we have been relying on online video conferencing systems such as MS Teams, which is perfect for our internal collaboration as well.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Shiran Weitzman: As mentioned, Shield is fully bootstrapped and self-financed so there has been no need for us to call upon outside help to maintain our business.
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