Cybersecurity: Toulousain ITrust is preparing to take on a European dimension

SNCF’s “TGV of the future” will probably be secured by a Toulouse company. ITrust, a publisher of cybersecurity solutions, has started a “project”, in collaboration with the carrier, to use artificial intelligence to detect cyberattacks and “physical” malicious acts in real time within electric trains and locomotives and tomorrow’s connected devices which should be put on track in 2024.

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“The first phase, which is now complete, was foresight to see if the cybersecurity tools and the artificial intelligence that we have developed can respond to the new issues facing SNCF. The results have been very good”, explains Jean-Nicolas Piotrowski, president and founder of ITrust.

The Toulouse-based company’s tools have thus made it possible to achieve detection rates for the various attacks of over 97%. From now on, the two parties are entering phase two of the project, integration. In addition, the Toulouse company wishes to apply its solution to other businesses such as smart building, satellites, connected cars and a whole smart apps IoT.

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Incidents quadrupled

Founded in 2007 in the Pink City, ITrust has seen its activity grow steadily and rapidly in recent years due to the proliferation of cybercriminal acts. “There has been an increase in attacks and malicious acts for two or three years“, notes the leader. Indeed, hospitals, communities and sensitive companies are increasingly targeted for the data they hold, a real gold mine for cybercriminals. Over the past two years, attempts attacks and incidents have quadrupled according to Toulouse society.Jean-Nicolas Piotrowski believes that the war in Ukraine and the current economic context have not changed this trend.

“All the same, we note that customers are increasingly aware. But there are still too many companies that are not protected or who think they are. And this, in all areas. The level of security of hospitals, clinics, laboratories and nursing homes is quite dramatic. Communities are also very poorly protected. SMEs start from very far since they do not necessarily have the budget, the solutions or the experts, “he says.

Become the European leader in AI applied to cybersecurity

Today, the specialist in cybersecurity solutions claims more than 1,000 customers. Among its client portfolio, it has nearly 150 principals, medium-sized structures, several hundred notary firms, but also the Ministries of Defence, Agriculture and Justice. Over the past four years, the company has thwarted 100% of its customers’ cyberattacks. Its flexible and easy-to-use model allows it to adapt to all company sizes and budgets, from the telephone of the President of the Republic to the small accounting firm of a handful of employees.

In order to take on a new dimension, particularly internationally, ITrust wishes to restructure its capital, from 2022, to achieve external growth. Its objective is to become the European leader in artificial intelligence applied to defensive cybersecurity. For the record, in 2019, it carried out a first growth operation with a “significant equity investment” in the capital of the Irish startup 4Securitas, which also specializes in cybersecurity, using artificial intelligence.

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“All the scenarios have been on the table for a few weeks. We are working with various financial and industrial partners on the strategy to adopt in the coming months in order to accelerate. We do not need to raise funds. We have a strong growth, a full order book, we could finance acquisitions with debt. We are on the lookout for hidden opportunities and equity investments in companies that will allow us to expand our client portfolio.”

Double orders in 2022

The company, which is showing rapid growth and enjoying a certain financial stability, wishes to take advantage of the current trend to accelerate and acquire new market shares. Between 2020 and 2021, ITrust experienced a growth of more than 70% in new orders for an amount of around 10 million euros. Over the last two financial years, it has posted more than 70% recurring revenue. In addition, 100% of contracts signed, generally lasting four years, are renewed when they expire. In 2022, it plans “good growth” nearly 40% of its turnover and to double its orders. Discreet and cautious vis-à-vis its competitors, the Toulouse company does not reveal its turnover.

“This year we are going to launch a new offer for hospitals and town halls. We are going to win major contracts. For example, we have signed with the National Solidarity Fund for Autonomy (CNSA) which collects nearly 35 billion euros of financing”, reveals the entrepreneur.

“Four years to reverse the status” abroad

At the same time, ITrust has been deploying its cybersecurity offer internationally since the summer of 2021. The company is looking for partners abroad, hosting providers, outsourcers or IT consulting companies, who can offer its solutions pressing white label AI. The company has thus started prospecting in Canada, Germany, Benelux, North Africa, Brazil, Australia and the Philippines. Since cybersecurity is transversal, ITrust is aimed at all sectors of activity.

Through this strategy, ITrust wishes to reverse the current international trend. She, who currently makes 15% of her turnover abroad, wants to eventually switch to 80%. It is also in the process of setting up a subsidiary for the end of 2022, abroad, outside Europe.

“I give myself four years to reverse the status. We have a strong appetite abroad. Our only competitors are American companies. However, certain countries or companies do not wish to use American products.”

Currently, ITrust employs 60 people in France and around 30 abroad, including engineers in Eastern Europe and South Africa. In France, its employees are divided between its Toulouse headquarters (40) and its Paris offices (20). In the future, the French entity will be a major player in the future “cybersecurity campus” project led by the Occitanie region.

“We need to help the communities, the health services, to participate in the life of the nation and to protect the citizens. We realize that they are deprived and that we must bring them help and not necessarily in a commercial approach”, concludes Jean-Nicolas Piotrowski.