“We have to be ready to hire people who can carry our culture forward”
By Steph MacIntosh @ Venor
With 20 hires in the past five months, LifeRaft is making big waves in the Atlantic Canadian tech market. Following a recent investment from the Canadian Business Growth Fund (CBGF) to put towards account expansion and new business, they’re poised to continue adding to their growing team and contributing to their thriving work culture. We spoke with Melissa from LifeRaft to learn more about LifeRaft’s growth, culture, and their next step up in the world of security intelligence.
Founded in 2014, LifeRaft is a Nova Scotia-based security intelligence company, headquartered in Halifax. Born from a need to bring together collection, investigation, and alerting efforts all in one security intelligence platform, Navigator, their mission is to empower businesses with the intelligence capabilities needed to protect people, their assets, and their operations. The Internet is a sea of information, and LifeRaft and Navigator will help you through the complicated territory. Following the global adoption of social media in the early 2010s, LifeRaft’s leadership was able to recognize how market analysis tools may be used in the world of corporate security.
“In the early days of social media, there were a number of marketing tools developed to collect data and analyze the impact of campaigns on brand sentiment. Our founders realized how impactful this information could be for safety and security — but instead of looking at the masses of trends and broad impact, we look for the needle in the haystack. If we can identify a threatening post where someone may be inciting violence, if our clients can do that themselves, then we can save a life.”
LifeRaft enables enterprises to be alerted of security threats and business risks using online threat intelligence. Extreme weather, travel disruptions, hate speech, rumors or false information, trespassing incidents, violent threats, or active shooter situations are just some of the hazards that Navigator monitors for. And its three facets; automating collection and filtering custom criteria, alerting, and investigation can be a one-stop security intelligence shop for its clients.
“We have consolidated the key aspects of an intelligence program into a single platform, that’s our differentiator from others in the market. Broad awareness monitoring, targeted search and investigation, as well as tracking and alerting capabilities are all combined into a unified intelligence platform.”
Navigator works by pulling information from different open web sources or channels to one platform where an analyst can inspect information and identify if there are any critical threats. If there is a credible threat, Navigator can find out more information about the threat or its connection to other incidents by providing identity resolution, link analysis, and tracking. Navigator can also examine the deep and dark web, where it works to find sensitive information like birth dates, phone numbers, SIN, passwords, credit card/banking data, and other personally identifiable information when leaked online.
Liferaft has over 200 clients in over 25 countries, including many of the Fortune 100. There’s no doubt that many factors have played into LifeRaft’s success over the past seven years, but one element that has enabled them to become experts in the corporate security market. They’ve been able to embrace a consultative approach that permeates from their client relationships through to the entire company. Noticing trends among some of the biggest brands in the world and facilitating communication around obstacles and technical support has allowed them to distinguish their team in the market and make a positive impact on the industry as a whole.
“Security challenges are unique to every individual company so it’s been an incredible learning experience evolving the platform as we learn more about the intricacies of the industry from our clients. When we work with organizations we aren’t giving them a cookie-cutter solution. We take the time to understand their business needs and understand how we can best apply the technology. We work with experts in the security field — so we soak up as much knowledge from them as we can to in-turn provide better technology, better support, and make more of an impact in the industry.”
With employees in Halifax, across Canada, as well as in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Slovenia, much of the LifeRaft team has been working remotely before Covid-19 prompted the work-from-home movement. They’ve now settled on a hybrid model with the flexibility to work out of their Bayers Lake office as little or as much as desired. What do employees say is the best part of working at LifeRaft? When polled, there was one stand-out response – the positive company culture. Whether it’s the leadership team’s receptivity to new ideas or gathering feedback on existing gaps that could be filled, there’s an openness to positive change. LifeRaft welcomes office dogs everyday of the week. Visit Office Dogs of LifeRaft on Instagram.
“There’s receptivity to people’s thoughts, experiences, feedback, and it’s valued and often turned into a new idea or a new process, or a new position. Feedback is taken seriously whether you were one of the first 20 people hired at the company, or you have been one of the last 20 people hired. Everyone recognizes and respects the consultative approach that we take with business internally and externally. To see that accepted, appreciated, and promoted is a fantastic element that we can be proud of.”
LifeRaft is looking forward to big things. Aside from building up their sales and marketing efforts and transitioning the engineering team to using the agile method, LifeRaft is in the midst of a product push, including adding to their Product Team. And of course, working to maintain the positive strides they’ve made by bringing people onto the team who will play a big part in contributing to their existing culture.
“We don’t have to have a big push for engagement because it already exists so naturally. It’s nice to be able to have that and have people push it out to the team, especially as we continue to grow. As the industry evolves and shifts, we have to be ready to hire people who can carry our culture forward.”
The LifeRaft team enjoying themselves at a company picnic.
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“LifeRaft leads with our culture. Clients, employees, partners, and investors are attracted to us because of the strong culture we’ve been able to build, and it’s something we pride ourselves on. Venor has been an integral part of helping us maintain that invaluable corporate culture while obtaining our growth goals. Scaling a startup is anything but easy; scaling a startup while maintaining a startup culture is even harder. To make this kind of evolution possible, it starts and ends with the people. Venor took the time to understand our people and company, so they could find people with the mindset, personality, and talent that aligns with our culture — many times adding to it.”
MJ Leslie, Chief Growth Officer