With a focus on emerging technology threats, Canberra-based technology company Penten is solving the cyber challenges of the future.
Penten CEO Matthew Wilson reflects on this Australian Export Awards finalist’s year of success. He also explains why the company is targeting emerging cyber security threats.
Penten solves some of the toughest cyber challenges of tomorrow.
Since its beginnings, this Canberra-based technology company has concentrated on what co-founder and CEO Matthew Wilson calls the ‘global whitespace’. The company has always set its sights on future problems in the cyber, electronic warfare, communication and information protection areas.
‘What makes Penten special is our focus on emerging global technology threats,’ says Wilson. ‘We believe that the battle space is digitising. We believe Australian engineers and scientists can make a contribution to secure that space.’
In the past year, Penten has almost doubled in size, adding another 60 people to its now 140-strong workforce. As it grows, the company remains focused on creating technologies to fundamentally transform a market.
Its state-of-the-art products include the AltoCrypt Stik, which secures sensitive information on a USB-sized device. AltoCrypt Phone provides secure chat, voice and mail on a commercial phone.
Penten’s TrapDocs product helps track unauthorised access to files. Tactical Communications Security is a sovereign communication solution for battlefield, emergency and disaster zones.
From its early days, Penten has had a global market mindset. It never tried to compete with global companies creating tech in a crowded space. Instead, the company focused on new threats needing new solutions.
Wilson believes modern cyber security could see Australia become a world leader in cyber exports. Key markets include Australia’s partners in the Five Eyes alliance: the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand.
‘Export is becoming increasingly important to Penten,’ says Wilson. ‘It currently represents about 20% of our revenue.’
In the past financial year, Penten’s exports were worth around $6 million, primarily to the UK. That was up from $2 million the previous year.
2020 also saw a transformation in Penten’s sales model. The UK Government sought secure at-home systems for COVID-driven remote working.
During a lockdown, the UK Government reached out to see if the company could help. Working with its UK partner, Penten designed, built and shipped its mobility solution in record time, adapting to the challenges of the pandemic.
Wilson says being an exporter in Australia means not having to go it alone.
‘There is a considerable amount of support on hand,’ he says. ‘Austrade, for example, has been an important part of our export story. It’s helped give us the confidence to go into new markets.’
Wilson notes the Australian Export Awards application process has helped Penten recognise the contribution of its talented team. It’s also validated customer trust.
‘Business is hard. Exporting is harder!’ says Wilson. ‘It's all long nights and time zone differences. But an awards process like this helps remind us that the things we are doing are important.’
The process also reminded Penten to celebrate the wins.
‘It's given us a moment to look back and reflect on the success of the organisation over the last couple of years.’
For this reason, Wilson encourages others to apply for the Australian Export Awards.
‘It's allowed us to not just tell our story, but to hear the export stories of some pretty amazing Australian companies around us.’