2020 Reflections from our
Co-Founder and CEO
As we enter 2021, the turn of a year like this one deserves some pause to reflect. Especially in light of how our year has started off with the events at the U.S. Capitol, our proactive, always-on approach to security (or what we call protective intelligence) is in the spotlight. We know we can do more to stay ahead of threats.
As we reflect on 2020 — a defining year for many businesses, including ours — I want to remember all of the little moments and events that have put us in a position to make 2021 our best yet.
We started the year off by moving into new offices around the globe. In February, we hosted our first Protective Intelligence Summit, bringing together many of the top enterprise corporate security leaders from around the country to Austin for three days of content, networking (and handshakes!), live music and unlimited breakfast tacos.
We gave celebration coins to those handful of employees that had been with Ontic for over a year and awarded two special Onticians “Orange Blazers” for setting the gold standard, living Ontic’s values every day and constantly striving to make others around them better. We could feel the tides turning as we worked day in and day out to serve our clients, onboard new employees and push big rocks up hills as we sought to transform protection.
The Defining Shift
Then suddenly, we hunkered down in our homes and were about to experience a once-in-a-lifetime event. Little did we know what the rest of 2020 had in store for us. Our loved ones have been sick, and some are no longer with us. Holidays and birthdays have been spent alone, or on yet another Zoom. We don’t hug, or even shake hands. There are no more planes, no more in-person meetings, or meals shared.
Our offices became wastelands as we upgraded our Zoom accounts, settled into our home offices and figured out which masks we liked best. I sit now in what used to be a kid’s bedroom, where I have for now almost 10 months. We shifted our priorities, our focus, and purchased things we never thought we would (puppies? RVs?). After getting past the toilet paper hoarding phase, many people took on new hobbies like baking, reading more books, reorganizing their closets, and simply going outside for a walk.
How Ontic Grew
Yet in the midst of these unprecedented times, we hired more people than even existed at Ontic in the previous year — all during a global pandemic. We grew headcount by 130%. We added noteworthy clients, had record quarters and supported our clients who were now on the frontlines of one of the biggest safety moments of their careers — and one they didn’t anticipate — a health safety event. This was followed by riots, protests, racial tension, political division, unemployment — yet through it all, we served our clients who worked tirelessly to protect over four million employees across the globe and their countless customers. We were there when our clients needed us…all remote.
We didn’t stop — ever. We added hundreds of features to the product (120 new features and 575 product enhancements to be exact), expanded into new use cases, and added 13 more data providers and integrations. We listened to our clients and prospects and kept building…all remote. Beyond product, we also built a brand and a community — and we’ve only just begun. We launched webinars, moving all our focus to digital and had hundreds of participants.
We brought new leadership to the team with in-house council Scott Shepherd, VP of Finance Ryan Suneson and Fred Burton, the world’s foremost authority on corporate security, terrorism and protective intelligence to head up our Center for Protective Intelligence. We launched the Ontic Protective Intelligence Podcast with over 14 episodes and counting! We conducted our first annual research study, The State of Protective Intelligence. We wrote, we spoke and we earned press from some of the most notable security publications, like the Wall Street Journal…we did it all remote.
What’s Stayed the Same
To the Ontic team – we’ve had some of our most laughs on Zoom — hosting cheese tastings, ugly sweater parties, Secret Santa exchanges, celebrating client success stories and just hanging out. We’ve also shared tough news, sad and hard events on Zoom. Adventure isn’t easy…especially remote. But you have blazed along with grit this year, and we have stayed true to our values. This past year, I’ve seen you lead with empathy, I’ve seen you raise the bar, walk the walk and just keep moving to do good above all — for our clients and for each other.
As we look ahead to 2021, in many ways much remains the same. There’s no silver bullet, but our commitment remains the same – it’s inch-by-inch that we keep delivering, feature-by-feature, Zoom-by-Zoom. I’m more excited than ever about this team, our clients, our partners and the important work we are doing to serve intelligence to those who protect and keep people safe.