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50 Best Workplaces of the Year 2019

Securing Data on the Go: Sequent Software, Inc.

thesiliconreview-joan-ziegler-ceo-sequent-software-inc-19Since 2010, Sequent Software, Inc. has been at the forefront of digital transformation and mobile security with patented technology that has both enabled and secured an entirely new world of mobile-based content and experiences in fields such as payments, financial services, loyalty, and access. It began with a unique solution based on Secure Element (SE) hardware in mobile phones.

Sequent was set up to make mobile payments secure and deliver mobile payment software infrastructure that provides the trust and confidence needed to expand mobile payments throughout the world.

Sequent, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, manages the digital issuance and tokenization of any type of personally identifiable credential (PII) that is sent to any type of connected device (such as a smartphone, watch, or other IoT devices). This is referred to as Host Card Emulation (HCE) Tokenization.

A candid conversation with Joan Ziegler, CEO, Sequent Software, Inc.

The first project plays an important role in laying a strong foundation. How successful was your first project rollout?

Our first project was well received by the market. In fact, the Sequent Platform and TIS’ WalletEVO were selected by a major Japanese payment card issuer and a Japanese megabank to manage digital issuance of debit cards and tokenization of all personally identifiable credentials to any type of connected devices. Not only does the combined solution create frictionless payments, but also it makes the data valueless to cybercriminals.

How would you define your company’s vision? And, how successful have you been in achieving it?

Sequent’s mission is to bring confidence, trust, and simplicity to transactions, shared information, and privacy in the digital world of connected commerce. Sequent has partnered with banks, payment service providers, merchants, and access providers to fully secure account and access credentials on mobile, wearable, and IoT devices.

Our success is proven through our extensive partnerships with technology companies and clients. Banks and payment providers trust our solution, and it further ignites our passion to protect data from cybercriminals.

If you have to list out some factors that have been the biggest assets to your organization, what would they be and why?

People: People are an incredible asset to any company. Technology can only be created if the right people are employed and inspired to innovate. Our success lies in our founding team and awesome employees. This company is like a family that works collaboratively to support each other, and the results are fantastic.

A supportive team of board members, investors, and advisors: Our insightful and experienced team of board members, investors, and advisors has always backed our vision and product expansion over the years. The board understood Sequent’s vision and knew that the market needs would continue to increase while encouraging the team to build the right platform that inoculated cyber fraud at its core.

Trusted partnerships: The trusted partnerships we have within the Fintech space is an important factor for the company’s success. Without these key technical, marketing, and sales relationships, the Sequent Platform would not be adopted as broadly as it is today.

Corporate Culture: We have a corporate culture that encourages innovation and collaboration. From our patent portfolio to recommendations on new features and functions in the Sequent Platform, all employees are contributors. Our culture of clear thinking and free speaking gets issues on the table early. Once problems are identified, solving them is what great teams do together.

How is the work culture at Sequent? Is there room for open communication and sharing of ideas and observations?

Sequent believes that its culture inspires and empowers our team. Sequent is a culture of creativity and risk, and we believe that the outcome is a result of each person who has contributed to our vision.

Our company is like a family, and like any family, we have open and honest conversations at all times. What’s great is that everyone respects each other, and when differences arise, it’s taken positively, not personally, because we are aligned in achieving our mission. Any business friction leads to a better understanding of the technology or customers, which drives better results.

How are conflicts resolved in your organization?

Employees are bound to have disagreements from time to time. The key is to head off real issues before they become problems. The best way to do that is to ensure employees have a shared vision, clear accountability, and trust. Our employees understand that their work is critical to Sequent’s mission, so it fosters ownership and pride in the jobs they do.

We share our work’s progress at twice-monthly all-hands meetings. The meeting at the beginning of the month lets the entire team know how we are doing against our objectives. The second meeting lets any individual or department showcase what is neat and cool about the work they are doing.

Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

Sequent’s goal is to become the world’s leading tokenization platform, securing payment data. Sequent will have differentiated its services and become known as a high integrity, high touch, high quality tokenization service provider. Beyond that, we have some very interesting opportunities in other channels such as eHealth records, where Personally Identifiable Information (PII) needs to be more secure to avoid heavy HIPAA penalties. Our mission is to make the connected world a safer place.

Meet the Leader

Joan Ziegler, CEO: Ziegler is also on the Board of Directors of Sequent, Inc. She joined the Sequent team during an exciting time of global expansion as Sequent leverages its success in tokenized mobile and IoT solutions in the credit and debit card business to the adjacent markets regulated by PSD2, GDPR, and HIPAA.

Ziegler is currently a member of the board at fintech licensing consultancy, Innov8 Firm, and co-founder and board member at PrivaSys, a patent portfolio licensing company. She was co-founder and a member of the board at FiTeq, where she designed, developed, and licensed FiTeq secure wallet technology on mobile devices and interactive payment cards. Ziegler closed dozens of complex licensing agreements granting intellectual property and technology rights, including 50 US and overseas patents in payment technologies spanning dynamic authentication, tokenization, electronic card assembly, and dynamic magnetic strips. Ziegler earned an MS degree from Florida State University.