Shaper: Emily Orton

Show aired on 10th December 2016

Transcript

Elliot Moss
That was Superstition from Stevie Wonder. Good morning this is Jazz Shapers with me, Elliot Moss thank you very much for joining me. Jazz Shapers is where you can hear the very best of the people playing jazz, blues and soul, the shapers of jazz, blues and soul and we put them right inside the cauldron of the world of a Business Shaper, someone who is shaping the world of business and my Business Shaper today I am very pleased to say is Emily Orton; she is the co-founder and head of marketing at the brilliantly named Darktrace and Darktrace is a cyber security business and you are going to be hearing all about the deep, dark world of cyber security very shortly and how it became to be. In addition to hearing from Emily, you will be hearing from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya some words of advice for your business and then we have got the music and we have got the shapers of jazz, blues and soul today including Otis Redding, Stan Getz and this from Joyce Moreno.

Meu Piao, I hope I said that correctly from Joyce Moreno, a Brazilian great but my Portuguese is a bit limited. My Business Shaper today though Emily Orton, co-founder and head of marketing at Darktrace is actually fluent I am imaging, or pretty fluent in French and Spanish because that is what she studied at Cambridge a way back when she was at University. Emily thank you very much for joining me.

Emily Orton
Thanks for having me.

Elliot Moss
Tell me what, before we go into anything because people will be going ‘what is Darktrace?’. Explain Darktrace for us mere mortals that aren’t machine learners, AI experts and the like?

Emily Orton
Sure. So Darktrace is a cyber security technology company. We are based in Cambridge and what we do is help organisations detect cyber threats that they may have already inside their networks. So this is really helping with the new generation or sort of threats that we are facing across our organisations, Darktrace goes in, finds and helps defend the companies against those quite difficult to find cyber attacks.

Elliot Moss
Now how long has this business been around?

Emily Orton
We are a three year old company but grown very quickly and actually people don’t often believe that when I tell them that we are now three hundred and fifty employees, twenty offices so we’ve, we’ve deployed the technology that we have which we call the Enterprise Immune system one thousand five hundred times so it’s been a very interesting journey.

Elliot Moss
Now this company that you are talking about has also been funded significantly and I meet many people, many different businesses and some borrow money from their grandma, some have a wealthy you know, individual that just says ‘I’ll put the money in’. Yours is a significantly funded business. I mean I am talking I think I believe July this year you closed a funding run of fifty million pounds. I am sure there has been money before. Why have people chosen to invest in this, I mean beyond the obvious that technology is a great investment. What is it about Darktrace do you think that has captured the imagination of funders?

Emily Orton
Well Darktrace is using very sophisticated mathematics and machine learning to solve this incredibly difficult and not necessarily solvable problem of cyber security. It is a very, very difficult challenge. So I think you know, the experts that we have that develop that machine learning are some of the best I think, not just in the UK but in the world based in Cambridge and so I think there was a huge recognition in the vested community that of course cyber security is a huge issue for all companies but specifically that Darktrace had the know how that was required and not just the marketing to really actually come at this problem from a fresh perspective.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for more from my Business Shaper today, Emily Orton; co-founder and head of marketing at Darktrace. I just want to say that ‘Darktrace’. Time for some music this is Otis Redding and Hard To Handle.

Otis Redding with the fantastic and famous Hard To Handle. Emily Orton is my Business Shaper today; co-founder and head of marketing at Darktrace and we’ve kind of mapped out very briefly a little bit about what it is and about the funding. I want to come to you quite swiftly. Tell me about you know, you are a Cambridge educated person, you’ve languages, you have gone straight almost from University to a very successful British company, Autonomy which was acquired by Hewlett Packard I believe. It’s not the typical entrepreneur’s route, it feels to me immediately that you are a cerebral person and that you understand the thing that you are talking about because to market anything you have to understand the substance of it. What made you think that it would be a good idea to go and set this business up for you personally?

Emily Orton
Well to be honest I have been very lucky in my career in that I have been able to work with some very, very inspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs so you know, I think my experience at Autonomy was absolutely that and a really sort of sharp learning curve in business and it was a bit by accident that I sort of ended up there as, as you say, a languages graduate and so you know, Darktrace has been just an amazing chance for me and you know, ultimately you know, the real founders of that company, the people that bring the know how that I have just been talking about are those mathematicians in Cambridge and I think I have been lucky enough to help them set that up and actually communicate that to the market so that’s sort of what I bring to the table.

Elliot Moss
Are you a bit of a translator? It strikes me, I mean, I know there is the language which is background here but you are talking about interfacing with people who are highly technically able, very intelligent, can’t often articulate in plain language what it is that they do. Is that what it’s about do you think? Is that why you are doing what you are doing?

Emily Orton
Yeah absolutely it is translating you know, technology and in our case, very complex advanced technology which has taken a while to develop to people who aren’t technical so absolutely as a translation job and you know I think it, you know, can fairly be said that in the US and Silicon Valley perhaps they do that better. It’s marketing the technology and we have some of the best technology in the world here in Europe and here in the UK but if we are not translating it to the market then we are kind of missing a trick. For cyber security it is particularly important. Cyber security is now not just a technical topic. You know before we think ‘oh IT network security, that’s the IT guys’ problems, it’s not my problem’. It is now the problem of CEO, it is a boardroom issue so we have this slight problem now we are trying to catch up, we have to translate even more all those kind of techy things into, sort of translate it into business risk and why is this important and so we find ourselves as a team at Darktrace giving more and more presentations to company boards on you know, what we… how we consider the risk landscape for them and so what we do is we go into networks and we find things, threats, anomalies, abnormal behaviours that probably won’t have been otherwise noticed and we are increasingly presenting that information to a board rather than to a technical person.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for more from my Business Shaper today, that’s Emily Orton. Latest travel in a couple of minutes and before that, some words of wisdom from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya for your business.

You are listening to Jazz Shapers with me, Elliot Moss every Saturday morning I talk to someone who is shaping the world of business. If you have missed any iTunes, Jazz Shapers is your destination or Cityam.com. Emily Orton is my Business Shaper today; co-founder, head of marketing at Darktrace. I mention that you work with a lot of engineers, a lot of smart people. You’ve also I believe collaborated with people from MI5, with people from Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ. What’s it like working with bodies that aren’t driven by profit?

Emily Orton
For me it’s been very interesting to work with on the one hand, as you said, the kind of critical brainpower behind our company the mathematicians and then on the other side, people who have real world operational experience and are doing this on the front line for places like GCHQ. I think a lot of them found it frustrating in that you know, they are people that are united with a sense of purpose of what they are doing, its, you know, it is national security at the end of the day so you know, it is very different. I can only imagine that you know but I think there was a frustration that within Government you know you are always fighting the next battle, there wasn’t enough time to actually innovate on the tool sets that they had and that was a frustration and is a frustration that the legacy, traditional way to do security which is broadly kind of try and protect your perimeter and keep things out wasn’t working and you know, they felt like they were at a disadvantage in a number of cases so I think a lot of them, especially the sort of more technically curious are enjoying coming into the private sector, applying the skills that they learnt in Government but applying it to actually create something, a new technology and we are constantly evolving the technology and it’s, you know, thanks to them that we are able to make it more and more relevant to the market.

Elliot Moss
More coming up from Emily Orton, my Business Shaper today about the truth behind Darktrace. I will say it properly, normally in a moment I promise, I will get over myself. Time for some more music right now, this is Madeleine Peyroux, the lovely Madeleine Peyroux with The Summer Wind.

That was Madeleine Peyroux with The Summer Wind. Emily Orton is my Business Shaper today. We have been talking about bringing together people with different skill sets, bringing together people who are driven by common purpose. Being a co-founder of a business, has that felt very different from being an employee in your last business and if so, how does that manifest itself for you?

Emily Orton
I mean certainly seeing it grow from the ground up has just been incredibly exciting, you know, my previous company I was working was big scale when I started working there so you know, it’s just, yeah of course you get much more involved and you get sort of more emotionally attached. You know, I remember, you know, setting up the first you know, the first website, the first this, there’s that and you know, just absolutely blown away by how fast it has grown and looking now and seeing you know, the teams all over the world with our big San Francisco base, our big New York base so it is just a sense of pride really in working with all the people that we are working with, being able to attract people from all over the world and so yeah, you know it does absolutely make a big difference.

Elliot Moss
And the nature of your role within it, obviously you are called the head of marketing and all that but does it take you into places you didn’t expect the head of marketing role to take you into? You know, it’s… people think about marketing and think it’s the communication side but there is a lot of things I imagine you get involved in where you would have thought prior to being in this role, ‘oh I didn’t know I would be doing that’ and what are those, what are those things, you know, what’s the range look like in terms of your day?

Emily Orton
Yes it is a wide range and I think at Darktrace we are quite a flexible, adaptable company like our software in a way, you know we, have a very entrepreneurial spirit in that we like to work fast, we like to… we have a very young team. In terms of my role, yeah as you say, it is everything from you know communicating out at conferences and doing trade shows and digital campaigns through to thinking about you know, giving, providing new materials to the market, working a lot with the technical teams so I go regularly to Cambridge, sit down with the development team as well, seeing what the new projects are so it is pretty broad and it touches every section of the business as well; you are talking a lot to sales, the customer facing stuff but you also as I mentioned going sort of behind the scenes as well so I like it because it gives me good exposure to kind of the nitty gritty technical things and I am learning but I also get to you know, use the communication skills that we all associate with marketing.

Elliot Moss
We will have our final chat with Emily shortly and we will be playing a track from Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto, that’s after the latest traffic and travel here on Jazz FM.

That was Doralice from the brilliant Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto. Emily Orton has been my Business Shaper today; she is co-founder and head of marketing at Darktrace. There I said it normally. They are a cyber security software business and they are being trail blazers in fact in defining and redefining what this means in this incredibly unusual space we find ourselves in in businesses. For you personally, you’ve now been part of this co-founding, you’ve been three years in and obviously there is a long way to go I am sure before anything else happens. Has it given you an appetite for being part of something right at the beginning?

Emily Orton
Yes it has, I’ve greatly enjoyed building up the team you know around me and actually also just working with, much more closely with other, other you know, experts in their fields and it has been particularly interesting working not just with people from software but from diverse areas and as you mentioned, a lot from Government so it has you know and I think cyber security is you know, obviously it is very topical at the moment so that adds an element of interest and I think it is you know, it’s not an over statement to say this is a critical international issue. You know I was just reading a bit before this, an Obama interview with Wired Magazine and you know, for starters I can’t imagine the US President doing a Wired Magazine interview before – I don’t know if they have I think that was possibly a first – and he specifically calls outside security…

Elliot Moss
Probably a last as well actually.

Emily Orton
…yes so we will see…

Elliot Moss
We’ll see.

Emily Orton
…and I thought it was really interesting that cyber security was like right up there as sort of like the number one concern when he was talking about artificial intelligence for example, new machine learning technologies. His concern there of course there’s great things that artificial intelligence can do to improve our lives but his concern was that you know, that’s going to be used on the bad side as well as the good side and that is a real challenge going forward and we are already seeing those really, really sophisticated AI attacks starting to target some companies and it’s going to be a really hard battle to fight so I think it’s, you know, it’s such a critical issue, it’s not just for Governments, it’s for every single business, small or large so it’s, it’s good to be able to offer something that is new in this area and that can help that defence challenge.

Elliot Moss
Last question just before the music and I am going to ask you about your song choice. What is it that you think will be the most important thing for you personally over the next few years as you see this business grow? What role is it that’s going to be critical that you have to deliver on for Darktrace to be the success it should be?

Logan Naidu
This is as true for me as for everyone in the business which is just keeping up with the pace of the field at the moment. So it is growing and particularly for Darktrace is growing and scaling in a way that we won’t lose the great energy that I think we have at the moment so as we go from three fifty to you know, five hundred employees for example, you know that’s a challenge for us and it’s about culture and everyone being energised, shared sense of purpose so that’s as true for me as for the whole company.

Elliot Moss
Well here’s to sustaining the energy. It’s been a pleasure talking to you Emily, thank you so much for your time. Just before I let you go and zip off, what is your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Emily Orton
So I have chosen Take Five by Dave Brubeck just because whenever I listen to it it puts a smile on my face.

Elliot Moss
Good we want that. A smile on Emily’s face and I hope it’s on yours too. Here it is just for you.

That was Take Five from Dave Brubeck, the song choice of my Business Shaper today Emily Orton. Part of a really innovative disruptive business and that’s Darktrace, great name too. A company that has brought together a very wide range of different sorts of skills and they have collaborated to create really cutting edge technology and fundamentally a business that is borne out of the environment that we all find ourselves in where cyber security is probably number one on most people’s lists in terms of running a business. Really, really interesting stuff. Do join me again, same time, same place. That’s 9.00am, next Saturday here on Jazz FM for another edition of Jazz Shapers. Meantime though stay with us because coming up next it’s the one and only Nigel Williams.

Emily Orton

Emily Orton is co-founder and Head of Marketing at Darktrace. She has been at the company since 2013. Emily started her career at EMAP, a content, subscription and networking business. From 2009-2012, she was European Marketing Manager at Autonomy, a multinational software company owned by Hewlett-Packard. She was subsequently a senior associate at Invoke Capital, a technology investment and advisory company.

Emily studied French and Spanish at Cambridge University.

Follow Darktrace on Twitter @Darktrace.

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

Darktrace is using very sophisticated mathematics and machine learning to solve this incredibly difficult and not necessarily solvable problem of cyber security. It is a very, very difficult challenge.

I think it is true to say that it is not conventional for humanities or more creative types to naturally think of technology as a sector to go into.

We have some of the best technology in the world here in Europe and here in the UK but if we are not translating it to the market then we are kind of missing a trick.

The whole point of Darktrace is it can see very subtle, stealthy threats. We are not talking about your basic stuff that you might be able to catch with an antivirus, we are talking about insider threats, for example.

It’s such a critical issue, it’s not just for Governments, it’s for every single business – small or large – so it’s good to be able to offer something that is new in this area and that can help that defence challenge.

We have a very entrepreneurial spirit in that we like to work fast… we have a very young team.

Cyber security is obviously very topical at the moment so that adds an element of interest and I think it is not an over statement to say this is a critical international issue.

Speaking to customers is the most satisfying thing to do really.