An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Tom Miller (co-founder and CEO) of ClearForce, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of ClearForce – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
We launched ClearForce in 2015 as a cyber security company focused on insider risk. We reimagined the cyber solutions market as playing goal line defense on every play – trying to quickly identify an attack and stop a breach before it reaches the net. With more than half of breaches involving an employee, whether consciously or not, we thought, what if you could focus on the human side of the insider risk problem to strengthen defense? We sought to help organizations identify early behavioral indicators of people risk, so they can course correct and address risks before they manifest in a breach attempt. We also figured out early on that to make behavior data actionable, we needed to provide employers with the ability to lock down privacy and compliance to ensure a fair and equitable investigatory process.
Over time, we have widely expanded the opportunities for organizations to better manage people risk in areas such as workplace violence, harassment, safety, and suicide prevention.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
Certainly, the global COVID pandemic ranks high on the list. From a business perspective, 2020 was incredibly challenging for many businesses, large and small. Our customers represent many global leaders in commercial critical infrastructure, and many had to make fundamental changes to their business models, restructure their organization, temporarily reduce their workforce, and figure out how to manage employees remotely. The risk of the workforce significantly increased people risk and we needed to continue to innovate to support our customers.
What does the future hold for ClearForce?
We have some great initiatives in the works right now. The one I’m most proud of is our work in veteran suicide prevention. We’re prioritizing outreach and communication to veterans who need help when they need it. In today’s world, the burden is placed on veterans to ask for help. We are flipping that model and enabling proactive outreach.
We’re also working on technology enabled cultural change focused on reducing sexual harassment, bullying, and retaliation by building out more effective employee reporting capabilities anchored with fair and equitable resolution.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Vienna?
Northern Virginia is becoming an unexpected tech hub that is drawing more talent and investment to the region. We’re seeing a great increase in tech employment, particularly in cyber security talent, as more startups relocate or establish themselves here. Part of what makes Northern Virginia and Vienna so great for the tech startup is the proximity to the D.C. metro area and the support from the county’s and region’s effort to grow and innovate.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t be complacent in your current environment. Whether you own a startup or a large corporation, you should always want to move forward, innovate, seize opportunities, and strive to be better every single day.