Why I’m Excited about ValiMail — and Joining them!

Anyone who knows me has probably heard me speak at length about the explosion of services online and how this increasing fragmentation creates tremendous experiential and security problems for users and businesses alike. It was one of these conversations around managing digital content that led to my last business, YourTrove.

The problem now is no longer content, but identity and its flipside anonymity. And there’s no place this battle rages more fiercely than in email.

The current W-2 phishing attacks. Wire fraud. Spam from your favorite brand that lands in your inbox. The Podesta email hack. These phishing attacks are so effective since traditional approaches can’t stop them — there’s no malware nor suspect attachments to filter out. The only thing wrong is that the sender is a criminal, not your CEO/CFO/Bank/etc., and they just tricked you into divulging sensitive information. None of these would be problems if the “from” address in the emails were required to authenticate before the emails were delivered.

Email authentication also solves another growing problem: Shadow email. Like its cousin Shadow IT, large companies have more SaaS components sending email on their behalf than they have visibility into. This creates huge liability, compliance, and deliverability issues. How can a business manage what happens to its email when any given employee can simply throw in a credit card and connect to a SaaS component that can send mail as you?

And these problems are getting worse with the continued proliferation of communication services and anonymization. And cloud services are accelerating this.

This is where ValiMail shines. ValiMail’s mission is to authenticate the world’s communications. Starting with the largest and more immediate communication platform: email. Which as we’ve just seen is burning.

Today, ValiMail stops modern phishing attacks, gives you visibility into and control over shadow email, helps dramatically with compliance and deliverability of email, and above all helps you protect your brand by ensuring no one receives spam, or phish, or porn with your domain on the masthead.

And that’s just to start. Other communication systems that need authentication — like IoT — are next.

This mission, ValiMail’s mission, is near and dear to my heart. Infrastructure, security, identity, and their ease of use are problems I deeply care about; ValiMail’s current product improves the experience and security for millions of users of email without any of them needing to lift a finger.

And ValiMail’s customers — which include HBO, Uber, and Yelp — are in love. I have been deeply impressed watching the reactions from existing clients who bend over backwards to introduce us to everyone they know.

But what pushed me over the edge to join is the team. The founders are visionaries, but not in the bullshit “talk a lot and let others figure out how to implement things” way, in the “I believe this so I built this, and then I worked my ass off to sell it, and then I went back and made it ten times better last week, and then I did that again this week” way. And they’ve hired an outstanding team that’s talented, humble, and just gets things done all day every day. The team is mature, experienced, and astonishingly effective. Without drama. The only lapse I can see is that they offered me a role.

So I’m excited to announce that I’m joining ValiMail as their Head of Product for Open Source and Protocols. My mandate is to work with the community to get better tools for authentication and security, starting with email, into the hands of everyone to make the world a safer place.

If you care about authentication or security, we should talk. Or you could just join us. We’re hiring!