Cross-interview with Tomas and Cédric Co-founder of Olvid

Thomas Baignières et Cédric Sylvestre

Today we are meeting two of Olvid‘s co-founders, Thomas Baignères (CEO)  and Cédric Sylvestre (Business Développer) . From my not very objective point of view it is one of the very beautiful discovery 2019, which is on a good dynamic in 2020!

[Emmanuel M] : Hello Cédric and Thomas, it is with pleasure that I meet you for this interview. First of all, how is Olvid? Does the current pandemic have an impact on your business?

[Thomas] : The current pandemic has shown the need to secure communications using reliable means, especially when the interlocutors are outside the company. Olvid responds perfectly to this problem, by creating a secure channel between interlocutors in less than 30 seconds, without adhering to the information system.
 In addition, the confinement period made it possible to make good progress on the technical roadmap, in particular by releasing the backup solution to recover your address book when you change your phone.

[Emmanuel M] : Speaking of pleasant things, you were awarded beginning of the year at the FIC (International Cybersecurity Forum) 2020, what did that changed for you?

[Thomas] : The price of the FIC 2020 put a certain spotlight on Olvid. The awarding of this prize by prestigious members represents a fabulous recognition of our technology. This allowed us to meet very many high-level players in companies.

[Emmanuel M] : After a few months as a beta tester, Olvid became a favorite application to which I attracted many of my contacts. Is this dynamic that I experienced more generally found? How many users are there at the start of June?

[Cédric] : Thank you for being a committed user! The dynamics are important. Word of mouth works well, and many cybersecurity specialists now recommend our messaging application. Olvid has been downloaded almost 20,000 times from stores.

[Emmanuel M] A new beta version arrives in June. How many beta testers will have the opportunity to test it?

[Thomas] : An active community has been created around Olvid. We are regularly contacted by users who offer to become a beta tester, which makes us extremely happy. First, we plan to offer the beta versions to around 100 users.

[Emmanuel M] : Is this the future version with new functions which will be subject to subscription ? Will we see the arrival of video conferencing and end-to-end voice encryption?

[Cédric] : Indeed, in June we are releasing in beta our first option for phone calls and video with the same level of security, of course, as text exchanges. This option will be marketed in September at a rate of a few euros per month per user.

[Emmanuel M] : For the videoconference part, how many participants at the same time will be allowed ?

[Thomas] : The beta version will allow one-to-one conversation then we will quickly expand to 3-4 people, closely monitoring the quality of service. Our users rightly expect excellent security and quality of service. Thereafter, we will work on the development of a technology allowing a large number of participants, while maintaining the same level of security as the exchange of text and attachments…

[Emmanuel M] : Does this version also include the desktop part ? From your point of view, could this feature ultimately be part of the free offer?

[Thomas] : No, the Desktop version will be released at the end of the year, our teams are actively working on the subject. It will be part of the paid BtoB offer.

[Emmanuel M] : With these new functionalities, what are the major advances that you envisage in B to B for your development ?

[Cédric] : It’s simple : all the features that make it easier to use and deploy in businesses. We talked about phone and video calls, the desktop version, etc. But our roadmap is much broader: link with the Active Directory for automatic contact between colleagues, web client version, administration console, fleet management (MDM), deployment with a qualified SecNumCloud service provider ..

[Emmanuel M] : Do you think there could be new synergies with players in the French-Tech ecosystem ?

[Cédric] : Of course ! We are working on building partnerships with publishers of secure solutions, secure cloud providers, referencing in marketplaces. In addition, we are refining our offers and our positioning on the market with our accelerating partners Wavestone, La Banque Postale, GICAT and Wilco.
Our intention is to count in the French Tech ecosystem by imposing Olvid as French then European secure messaging.

[Emmanuel M] : You are still a “start-up” at the start of your great adventure. How do you see your development, in a few key figures, over the next two years?

[Thomas] : Our different past experiences (business creation, BU management, general management, consulting, etc.) allow us to consolidate each stage of our company’s development. Our objective, as we have told you, is to impose Olvid as the simple means of communication, with an unprecedented level of security, for French companies, whatever the size and the sector of activity. Olvid’s long-term vocation is to develop on the European and international market.

[Emmanuel M] : As you know, the main theme of this site is digital sovereignty. How this theme was for you the engine of your creation?

[Cédric] : All the messaging systems impose servers, centralized directories, on which you have no guarantee of security. Olvid has been designed so that you can take control of the security of your data. There is no longer any need to depend on foreign publishers (no need to name them …) who can have access to your information. France and you will thus regain your digital sovereignty!!

[Emmanuel M] : Knowing the adage “If it’s free, you’re the product !”, Do you think that many private users will be willing to pay for paid features, even if they are relevant and secure ?

[Cédric] : The current application is and will remain free for the general public. This free version is funded by features sold to businesses. Our economic model is that of BtoB. The spirit of the times is to protect his privacy and those close to him on the networks. Maybe a small part of the general public will accompany us in the epic of Olvid to no longer make the looting of data a fatality.

[Emmanuel M] We are coming to the end of this interview, if you had a word of conclusion, what would it be ?

[Thomas] : Thank you for giving us the floor. This allows us to share our values, our positioning on the market and our objectives. It is users like you who are ultimately the best prescribers on the ease of use of Olvid and who extend their address book by convincing their loved ones. As for the revolutionary nature of our technology, we are doing everything to make it clear that Olvid is the safest instant messaging system in the world: CSPN certification in progress at ANSSI, bug bounty open with Yes We Hack, articles by cryptologists internationally recognized who provide mathematical proof of the inviolability of communications …


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