Rachael GreavesMedieval castles were always thought of as fortresses where battles were launched, and soldiers protected from the enemy. But these structures also served as centers of administration and symbols of power. It is the latter image than Castlepoint system uses to describe its approach to the management of data.

Castlepoint registers every record in every business system and uses Artificial Intelligence to classify it based on a series of rules and regulations. Appropriate lifecycle controls are then applied to the data ensuring that the information assets are always protected. There is one central point used to search, find, manage, and audit data and this is done seamlessly with no impact on an organisation’s existing system or its users.
Where often staff may work around a records or compliance management system due to its lack of user-friendliness or training, Castlepoint automates the compliance without asking staff to learn a new way of working.
Castlepoint is the ‘Data Castle’ where the rule makers, guardians and the overseers of data operate and impose necessary order on its information. This oversight is invisible to users, who can continue their work without noticing any change.
“The key is that we never have to bring the people or their processes or the data inside the castle walls,” says Rachael Greaves, CEO and cofounder of Castlepoint Systems.
“As long as they are inside the walls of the network, they are being managed from the castle. Users don't know it’s happening, and there is no need for them to add metadata or use naming conventions or file plans. Because we're reading the data just like a normal user, no connectors or agents are installed on the source systems. We don't copy, move, or modify any of the data, affecting its integrity. We use Rules as Code, a kind of artificial intelligence, to classify the data against regulatory obligations.”

CastlepointUnderstanding the need

Rachael and her partner started their consultancy company focused mainly on records management, security and auditing, in 2012. Rachael has a background in records and cybersecurity management and consistently found across federal and state government that the initiatives agencies had put in place around information compliance and control were failing. “And the failures were pretty catastrophic”, says Rachael.
During her audits, Rachael found that the failures were not due to the lack of trying, but rather because the systems being used were not ‘fit for purpose’ and could never succeed in meeting the necessary requirements. In fact, there was no technology available at the time to address this problem at scale. “We knew we had to come up with a new one. I knew what it had to do. It had to cover all kinds of data in any system across a whole network that was impacted by all kinds of regulation. But it had to do that totally invisibly to users, and have no impact on the source systems, and do this without moving or modifying the data”, says Rachael.
With this not insignificant list of requirements in hand, Rachael approached her partner Gavin, and asked him to build a solution.
Rachael tested the waters by presenting the solution at a conference in October 2018 to see if there was appetite for this new model. Clearly there was: by January 2019, Castlepoint had its first federal government implementation. And the rate of adoption has grown exponentially ever since.
Rachael puts the speed of adoption down to solving a problem everybody has, with very low barriers to adoption. “We architected it to be low cost, fast to implement, with no impact on users, data security or quality”, says Rachael. To meet the demand, the Castlepoint team worked long hours, bootstrapped the business for a long time and received some angel investment in 2020. The company recently closed a Series A Investment round and is currently investing in growing the team which now stands at 25.

A business with purpose

Part of the inspiration for Castlepoint comes from knowing that inadequate compliance in relation to privacy, security and records management affects real people and sometimes quite adversely. “Stories like that of Vivian Solon and Cornelia Rau, Australian citizens who were unlawfully deported or detained because the Department of Immigration couldn't find their records in their system, underpinned our drive to find a solution.
“There are so many reasons why we have an obligation to manage information – to make people and the community safer. But organisations with the responsibility for this, such as government departments, energy providers and mine operators etc. simply haven't been able to do it effectively. The real benefit for us comes down to keeping people safe, preventing unfairness due to lost or missing information, and protecting the environment,” says Rachael.
“One way to achieving these changes is through better discovery,” says Racheal. As an example, Rachael said that the National Health and Medical Research Council was spending about $400,000 a year on eDiscovery. Castlepoint reduced it to less than $10,000. “There are big savings to be made in terms of finding information faster, evidence-based retention of records, and reducing the impact of breaches. This is about managing the whole lifecycle of information, which hasn’t been done before”, says Rachael. The ‘secret sauce’ to Castlepoint is having eyes across all the data in the whole network, all the time, which enables evidence-based analysis and recommendations.

Understanding the customers and partnerships

“We had planned to set up offices overseas in 2020, but COVID cancelled those plans. The inability to travel is what made us rethink our growth model and refocus on partners. We believe that the best approach right now is to build our company here in Canberra, and work with our partners to access new clients overseas. The partners already have the qualified opportunities, they already have clients, so we don't need to break new ground”, says Rachael.
Rachael says that Castlepoint has several alliance partnerships with companies including KPMG, Deloitte, and the ARQ Group, for example – they developed the Fires Near Me app and are now providing more services to government. These alliances serve to facilitate introductions to potential clients, and will enable Castlepoint to expand its reach into new markets. The other advantage of this model is that these partners already have in place the necessary structures, bank accounts and other regulatory requirements to operate in foreign markets.
But Castlepoint still wins its own business as a result of the reputation it has built, and recently, Castlepoint landed its first New Zealand customer with the Waikato Council in New Zealand. Around 65% of new clients are engaged direct, not via the partner ecosystem, and it’s important to be able to engage this way, particularly for government who often prefer to work exclusively with the vendor. That means Castlepoint has a very strong project management and consultancy team, as well as its product staff.
Castlepoint has also taken direct steps into other international markets, including registering the company in the UK and registering on the UK Government GCloud marketplace, for example. Rachael says that the focus is to make sure the company can sell into any market in a sustainable and scalable way.

Marketing when in a rapid growth phase

As a rapidly growing start up, Racheal knew early on that they could not risk a widespread advertising campaign. “We couldn't go out to the market in one big bang because we knew that wouldn't be able to service a rapid uptick in demand. So, we built up the team and sought some funding, which we managed to get very quickly”, says Rachael.
The marketing focus has been on building the company’s credibility and establishing a trusted position in the market. Rachael wrote articles and presented at several conferences, and continues to be invited to contribute widely as a subject matter expert. Winning global awards, such as the FinTech Global 2021 Cybertech 100, and others across a range of industry sectors have built up the company’s cachet as an innovative and credible provider.
This in turn helped the company achieve a successful fund raise. “Marketing for us is much less about the traditional tactics of print media and advertising, and much more about the perception in the market as being a trusted adviser”, says Rachael.
One digital pitch that Rachael says was disruptive was her foray into TikTok. “One of our early videos went mega viral. It has had something like 250,000 views and around 30,000 likes. Within a week, we had double the number of followers on TikTok than we had accumulated on LinkedIn in three years, and it has created enormous traction for us. It’s a way to reach a global audience who cares about the same stories we care about”.

Some of the lessons – so far

  • For any young emerging company coming out with some deep technology or something that is different, a rapid route to a global market is partnering up with those who already have the credibility and a strong client list in those geographies. Credibility is everything, and Castlepoint’s large initial client base in Australian federal government has made a strong impact when attracting overseas governments and large industry.
  • For an export model, you do need to take some time to map and understand international markets and customers, and work out how you will best support them, and this will slow you down. The challenge with working out how you do business in different countries can also be an ethical challenge. Castlepoint have a strong focus on ethics and integrity, and this has precluded the company from working with some companies in the tobacco and gambling sectors, for example.
  • It is never too early to think about succession planning and having a contingency plan. We all plan for things to not go wrong, but they inevitably do. Nobody really predicted a global pandemic, but even as an early-stage business Castlepoint had a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan, mature and tested procedures, and even an EAP for their staff. When the worst happened, they were already prepared, and the pandemic had minimal impact on their growth strategy.

For more information about Castlepoint Systems, visit https://www.castlepoint.systems/

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