From Pioneer to Benchmark: Astran's Journey in Cybersecurity and Solidarity

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A few years ago, Yosra Jarraya, who had become a director of an international group after working as a corporate lawyer, found herself faced with a conundrum. In front of her, an influx of sensitive data to handle, and one question: how best to ensure its confidentiality? In March 2021, she co-founded Astran, the first French company to create an alternative to encryption using data fragmentation, developing a new approach to security and confidentiality in the cloud.

From pioneer to benchmark?

Two years on, the startup already has a dozen customers and a very clear vision: "Cybersecurity should not be at the expense of simplicity and business acceleration.

business. Often, cybersecurity solutions take away business opportunities. Our challenge was to build a particularly easy-to-use solution that works extremely well with existing market players". Once the technological hurdles had been cleared after extensive testing on sensitive data, and the patents filed, the second step was to convince an ecosystem that was initially skeptical. "We had to explain with our pilgrim's staff, until people believed us, tested it and saw that it worked", says Yosra Jarraya. Today, the entire ecosystem can benefit from this technological innovation: "Often, you have academic research on one side, and companies on the other. At Astran, we work with a number of laboratories, with a fixed idea in mind: as a start-up, we only invest where there is value for our customers".

Cybersecurity and solidarity

Two years after the company was founded, Yosra Jarraya can see the changes taking place in the sector: "There's a certain effervescence, with the Cyber Campus at La Défense for example, similar initiatives in the regions, and public communication around the priority given to cybersecurity, to corporate and personal data". She continues: "I'm sure we'll continue along this path of acceleration, of adoption of innovations". For Astran, the next step will be a partnership with Google. A few months ago, the young company was selected from among 15 European cybersecurity startups by Google For Startups to join the Growth Academy Cybersecurity. A "stroke of luck", according to Yosra Jarraya, which has given the cloud startup even more "visibility". We saw, whether at the Google campus in Madrid or in Paris, that the idea was to work together," adds the entrepreneur. We share the same issues, so there's a benevolence that's good for our company. This is invaluable, because in my opinion, you can't succeed in creating a great company from scratch without the support of the whole ecosystem." An ecosystem in which Yosra stands out somewhat. Indeed, she is one of only 11% of women in the sector, a figure that constitutes "an absolutely incredible bias", according to the French National Agency for Information Systems Security (ANSSI). Astran's president admits she has turned this into an asset. "Today, I'm the original appointment of the day, and I'm remembered precisely because I'm a woman. You wouldn't expect a woman to walk into the office to represent a cybersecurity company, so it makes an impression. There's a huge way to go, still, and I've decided not to stop at it but rather to use it to help give a new image to cloud and cyber."

Raising $5 million

Today, the company, which has a parity team of around 20 people, is continuing to grow: Astran has raised $5 million in 2023. Eventually, the startup hopes to invest in the US market, which is home to 40% of companies in the cybersecurity sector, in order to show that Europe can still play a major role geopolitically.

to play geopolitically. Yosra Jarraya adds: "Our ambition is to make a technological difference on a global scale. It will take several years, but it must

be the political vision of the sector".

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