Editor’s note: The following is part of Startland News’ ongoing coverage of the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Kansas City’s entrepreneur community, as well as how innovation is helping to drive a new normal in the ecosystem. Click here to follow related stories as they develop.
As the Kansas City region recovers from the impact of a global pandemic, entrepreneurs stand to solve bigger problems than ever before — and they’ll need the full support of state and local governments to reach their disruptive potential, advocated Dr. Jeff Colyer.
“Entrepreneurs can look at problems and solve them quickly. States, oftentimes in the tech sector, lag [efficiency] by decades,” said Colyer, former Kansas governor, discussing the critical need for state leaders to adopt new technology that can improve government productivity in such areas as the unemployment system.
A staunch believer in tech startups, Colyer advocated on behalf of Kansas City-based PayIt during his time in office — which immediately preceded current Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly — landing the GovTech startup a state contract that overhauled efficiency in the Kansas department of motor vehicles.
Now out of office, the surgeon-turned-politician has taken on a similar advocacy role for Overland Park-rooted RiskAnalytics — a cybersecurity startup that aims to better lockdown web browsers in the days of remote work, brought on by Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“What excited me about them was the technology that they have put together and they’ve taken up a specific niche,” he said, referencing the company’s newly launched ShadowNet browser, which tracks, sources and correlates malicious traffic from global sensors and eliminates cyber criminals’ ability to communicate with user networks in real time.
“The thing that really caught my attention … and what most people don’t realize, is that there are thousands of computers around the world that are pinging every IP address that they can come up with and trying to get in,” he continued, noting the RiskAnalytics mobile app revealed his personal cell phone was pinged more than 8,000 times in 24 hours.
Click here to download the app or for more on the technology behind RiskAnalytics.
With a majority of the global population shifting to remote work, companies and government operations are noting an increased need for such tools, Colyer told Startland News, and he’s hopeful they’ll find value in RiskAnalytics.
“This is the technology that any governmental entity, be it local, county, state, federal can easily add to their regular protections,” Colyer explained, noting firsthand observations of the need for such tools, as well as general modernization for some state systems.
“What is different for a state is you can apply this sort of technology system-wide, very very cheaply. There isn’t another competing technology that does this. … States and cities have lots of legacy systems,” he said. “As we’ve learned, the unemployment system was built on [a card system] decades ago.”
“These are the types of things that you can add on to any sort of different type of old, legacy system out there to give better protection,” he added. “[If cyber criminals] were pinging my phone 8,000 times, imagine what they’re trying to do to financial records or other governmental programs.”
RiskAnalytics and a slew of other area startups stand to offer vital solutions to efficiency and security flaws for both companies and the government during an unprecedented time, Colyer added.
“There are a number of startups here in the Kansas City area — on both sides of the state line — who have some pretty cool fixes, and they’re able to deploy these pretty quickly working with cities, counties and states,” he said.
“We’re going to be in difficult economic times over the next couple of years and we have to make sure that [startups] are there,” Colyer continued. “There’s going to be a lot of destruction going on and there’s going to be a lot of Phoenixes that rise. This is a unique opportunity for lots of people in business, in all sorts of sectors, to be disrupted.”