Founder and CEO Dr. Muhammad Umer Wasim talked to Silicon Luxembourg about the moment he decided to launch the start-up, back in 2019, to solve a problem that every company must deal with when it comes to complying with the rules of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), applicable across the European Union.
While working in data privacy and information security, the technopreneur frequently came across the situation where he needed to use excel sheets to do data mapping and create a register.
“Too much manual work was involved,” he recalls, adding that “you have to go through these excel sheets a lot every day and there is no data linking. The most difficult is when you try to bring the excel sheets into reports for the auditor or for your clients.”
He describes the process as being laborious, involving various internal departments and constant reformatting, arguing that it can take companies between 3 months to even one year to implement all the requirements, especially with regards to information security.
Wasim, who obtained a joint international Ph.D. degree in law, science and technology from the University of Luxembourg and the University of Bologna, saw a business opportunity in this bottleneck and started looking into concrete ways to automate the process of GDPR compliance.
“What is special about GDPR is that it is both reactive and proactive. This makes it unique and challenging,” he explains, adding that the team at Devseis comprises 14 members, including lawyers, senior advisors, developers and information security experts.
Currently, Devseis offers a GDPR reporting service designed specifically for small and medium-sized enterprises. Named GRaaS, the online tool generates reports automatically that are delivered in standard formats suitable for compliance audit reports.
“You have this live reporting and you can see if the report projects what you try to bring into it. It is a smart system that acts on your clicks,” says Wasim, adding that the process is completed in a few hours as opposed to months.
While GRaaS is designed to check “what GDPR controls or what GDPR articles you are compliant with inside your company,” he further explains that an additional requirement applies to the GDPR compliance of a company’s business partners as soon as personal data is shared between them.
To this end, the Devseis team has been developing a cloud solution, TrustChain, which allows companies to connect with their business partners and access their Type 1 reports for GDPR compliance.
In parallel, Devseis has launched the GDPR4Startups programme as a consultancy service to help start-ups implement the rules right from the beginning.
“As a start-up you are already stretched out with so many of the main factors that are revolving around your business model, how you are going to build the product and how you are going to do the commercialisation, the team, the daily routine,” he says, adding that “GDPR is not on the priority list but the problem is that it is a danger that is settling there and is growing.”
He goes on to add that “the moment the start-up gets mature, there is a chance that this danger can come and do harm to the business model and that can jeopardise and stop a start-up from executing its strategy.”
Launched at the end of 2021, the programme has attracted the interest of several start-ups so far, including a number of projects affiliated to the University of Luxembourg incubator.
To take the company forward, Wasim has recently hired Momna Khawaja as COO and she will play an important role in leading the commercialisation and business strategy set for Devseis.
The start-up has ambitious plans to operate in other European countries, to further expand its client focus to large enterprises, as well as to tap into the fields of education and healthcare.
Devseis is currently taking part in the Fit4Start #12 acceleration programme, which includes 6 months of specialised coaching as well as funding from the Ministry of Economy in Luxembourg.
“To enter the global market, the start-up needs to validate its business plan, develop reputation and create value adding business partnerships. This is exactly what Fit4Start offers through its experienced mentors and international network,” Wasim says.
Devseis was also one of the ten finalists in the European Cybersecurity STARtup Award 2021 competition, which saw Wasim recently travel to the Hague to meet venture capitalists and investors, tech funds and other industry representatives.