March 4th, 2021: Jeremy Martin, Co-Founder
It was the 21st of March 2018, when Peter and I formally started our fledgling business, incorporating 27k1 Ltd at Companies House, UK. We had already forged a working partnership, as I had previously asked Peter to lead a GDPR Training Course, intending to ride the wave of demand generated by the official introduction of the GDPR on May 25th, 2018.
GDPR might have proved a major, commercial opportunity for anyone who wanted to jump on this train. In hindsight, I suspect that it was only the Legal profession who were able to scare their clients into parting with sufficiently worthwhile fees, but for most of the rest, it felt like “Ground Hog Day”, similar in terms to the Y2K disaster, where everyone asked ….”is that it?”
For 27k1 Ltd, time was marching on. By the Winter of 2018, Peter had developed the bones of the 27k1 software, building on his knowledge of programming and his ISO 27001 Lead Auditor/Lead Implementer qualifications. So, we began to prepare for the system’s product launch, Version 1.
Initial market research confirmed that spreadsheets were deployed as the standard approach, supported by whatever documents, policies or other evidence of compliance, as required. The global, ISO 27001 compliance market was simply waiting for our arrival.
We formulated a business model, following a classic route map. The system would be sold by ISO 27001 Consultants, who in turn would resell the system to their clients. What could possibly go wrong?
I began to reach out to prospective resellers, sending invitations to the product launch, which was to take place on 25th April 2019. The Kyocera Document Solutions showroom, Manchester had a great space for product launches and I managed to gain free use of the showroom, since I agreed that I would promote the Kyocera brand when sending out launch invitations through the Eventbrite web site.
We launched our ISO 27001 compliance software, presenting the system through PowerPoint slides, to a select group of ISO 27001 practitioners. Why did we use ppt? At that time, gaining access to a live system was fraught with instability and we didn’t want anything to go wrong at a live demo!
We received excellent responses and feedback from the launch attendees, who numbered around 10 personnel. In our naivety, we thought that we had latched onto something special, but self-praise is no praise and we soon learnt that it would take several years to become an overnight success.