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Patricia Müller

About a Dream Come True: Finally Founding a Startup

Studied computer science in the 90s, 20 years of experience in IT and consulting, most recently as an equity partner at one of the world's largest consulting firms - Alexander Busse is an absolute expert in cybersecurity. After a stellar career, he has now embraced his passion and is applying his knowledge to his own startup.

Where some companies need a consultant or a large team, Alexander Busse has developed a platform that makes the IT of medium-sized and small companies more secure – in other words, automated consulting. Using an expert system, the threat situation is analyzed, measures are proposed and processes are documented. The system is based on an AI solution and is offered as a SaaS solution. In the interview, Alex tells us more about his startup Cybervize.

In addition to a telecommunications provider and two banks, you also have three major consulting companies on your resume. One could think that with your many years of experience in the consulting industry, you're not just competing with one of your previous employers. Is that so? 
ALEXANDER BUSSE: I've been in the IT industry and in cybersecurity for a long time. Back then, it was a niche that wasn't as much of a focus and hackers were more known as creative tech enthusiasts. However, through my work in consulting, I was able to realize how important the human factor is in this field and how important it is to have processes and risks in mind. These insights made me a high-demand expert and enabled me to build a successful career. But I didn't stand still and always wanted to continue learning and improving. In a seminar, I once looked deep inside myself and found out what really drives me. While many participants relied on love and recognition from others, for me the greatest satisfaction comes from overcoming challenges and improving things. It brings me a great sense of satisfaction and pride when I solve a problem and the result is better than before. 
My work has shown me that cybercrime, and ransomware attacks in particular, are a serious threat to businesses and society. Companies of all sizes are exposed to potential attacks, and mid-sized companies are just as at risk as large enterprises. However, it is especially difficult for mid-sized companies to obtain good cybersecurity professionals or advice, as the budgets of mid-sized companies are often smaller than those of large companies. Yet a single attack can put their very existence at risk. I see this as a complement rather than a competitive situation. Mid-sized companies are not usually the target customers of my previous employers, and by using AI automation, Cybervize meets the needs of these companies in a unique way. In addition, we need automation because we have a shortage of skilled workers in Germany. I see it as an opportunity to address and improve this problem.

A special feature of the Cybervize platform seems to be the "moderated community“, is that the case? And can you tell a little bit about that?
ALEXANDER BUSSE: The Cybervize platform serves to support the practical implementation of cybersecurity measures. It provides a community where knowledge is made available and where questions can be asked about specific implementations. These questions are answered by our staff or other participants. All contributions are checked for quality and archived so that the knowledge is constantly growing. Every customer has access to this area and can find help with implementations as well as discuss experiences and solutions with other participants.

In 2021, you left your position as an equity partner at one of the world's largest consulting firms to let your ideas and passion for cybersecurity flourish in your own startup. So you've consistently made a career out of it. What didn't you like about your previous work life?
ALEXANDER BUSSE: I always felt comfortable with my work, but I always hoped that with each step in my career I would get more opportunities to implement my own ideas and be self-determined. Now that I've started my own business, I feel like I'm much closer to my purpose and goals. Looking back, however, I would say that I waited too long to take this step and realize my dreams. I'm incredibly grateful for the experiences and learning opportunities my career has afforded me so far, and I'm excited to see what else I can learn with my own business.

So how long have you been thinking about starting a business?
I showed my interest in entrepreneurial activities during my studies by starting a small software development company. However, when I later became a partner, I realized that I could not fully realize my vision of improving cybersecurity for businesses of all sizes in that environment. So I decided to strike out on my own and make my vision a reality. I started a company focused entirely on improving cybersecurity for businesses, and I am convinced it was the right decision.
The idea to start my own company simply came from my passion for cybersecurity. I wanted to implement my ideas and visions in this field and for that I needed the freedom and opportunities that my own company offers. So it wasn't about finding a particularly lucrative idea, but about living out my passion and making my contribution to the cybersecurity industry.

I noticed that you are also very eager to share your knowledge. Helping people help themselves is a recurring motif in your career over the past few months: you're also a lecturer and podcaster on the side. And you actively support women who are interested in cybersecurity.
ALEXANDER BUSSE: I think sharing knowledge is an important aspect of learning and growing. We all build on the knowledge we have received from others and I feel it is my responsibility to pass on what I have learned to others. I have never been afraid that I would lose an edge by doing so, on the contrary, I find it fascinating how sharing knowledge can give you even more inspiration. Knowledge doesn't become less as a result, but instead continues to grow. And I think it's important to support and encourage women in the cyber industry because they are often underrepresented. I believe that gender balance in teams leads to a better working environment and better results. Therefore, I am actively trying to attract women to Cybervize. I believe this is an important step to diversify and strengthen the industry as a whole. I am very proud that in my previous team women were able to work on an equal level with men and I hope that this will be the case at Cybervize as well.