Written by Claudia May 29, 2024

Interview Kertos – Part 1 | About Kertos

We want to know more about how to start a business, how to build a company and what milestones and hurdles you face on your way to entrepreneurship. So we spoke to Johannes Hussak from Kertos, who gave us some insights.

KERTOS founder team: Johannes Hussak, Kilian Schmidt, Alexander Prams

How did you find each other as co-founders and where did the idea for Kertos come from?

Before Kertos, I ran a software agency together with my co-founder Alex. Our team of 7 or 8 people basically focused on everything around data-driven innovation, like machine learning and data science… Through a mutual friend, we were introduced to Kilian. Kilian is a fully qualified lawyer and used to work in data protection for large companies. When I met him, he was super frustrated with the whole process. He had a good idea but no plan on how to implement it. It was really inspiring for me to see how much frustration there was on his side and it basically made me decide to really tackle this issue. After we were introduced, we worked on the case for a couple of months and then decided to ask the whole team from the previous company if they would like to join Kilian in the new company Kertos. They all said yes, and they are all still with Kertos. That was a very, very important proof point for us and it makes me proud that everyone was convinced and is still with us.

What was the most difficult hurdle you had to overcome in the beginning?

One of the biggest challenges we have with Kertos is that our product deals with a very, very sensitive issue: Deleting or accessing personal data. So when it comes to building an MVP, it was not possible for us to just build a 90%, 95% or even 98% solution, we always had to make sure that our solution, which is integrated and really reads and deletes data, works 100%. And that was a challenge in the beginning. But we got a lot of trust from companies, so we were able to really put it into production and convince our first customers.

What milestones have you successfully passed?

So we are a fairly young company, we started the round about 17 months ago, so in early 2022. Since then we were able to successfully close a pre-seed round of about 1 million, followed by a seed round of about 4 million 10 months later. And in between, we’ve been able to scale the team to over 20 people, build a first MVP, go live and now manage hundreds of thousands of data points, ensuring that data protection operations are truly compliant and scalable.

What do you currently lack, where are the hurdles or barriers?

One of the biggest barriers we face is the need to educate our customers and prospects. With Kertos, we are opening up a new category of privacy tools. So we are not documenting things, we are not consulting, but we are really automating the whole process. That is one of the things we have to make clear at the very beginning, that this is really a new category and a new solution. Apart from that, data protection is a very complex issue, so we have to talk to a lot of different stakeholders from the legal side and from the technical side, because we areintegrated. So bringing them all together and convincing them to see the potential of Kertos is always an cumbersome process and takes quite a long time.

Where do you want to go in the future?

With Kertos, we started with a very specific pain point or challenge, and that is the challenge of data subject rights: your right to be forgotten or your right to access your personal data. We have successfully implemented that use case. And now the main goal is to scale from a specific use case to an all-in-one privacy solution or operation system – as we call it – and really provide a tool for all the different issues that you have to think about as an organisation when it comes to privacy.

You are part of the UnternehmerTUM and Legal Tech Colab Ecosystem. What doors have been opened for you through this connection?

I think I had my first contact with UnternehmerTUM in 2017, when I joined the student entrepreneurship programme Manage and More. And basically it wasn’t just one door, but a whole world that opened up for me: the world of entrepreneurship. It was really exciting and since then I have never left that space.
Later we joined the Legal Tech Colab, where much more specific doors opened for us. Everything around the connection in legal tech, connections to other legal tech startups, to lawyers, but also to very important decision makers like Georg Eisenreich, the Bavarian Minister of Justice, and also to have an audience and the opportunity to present ourselves, what we do and the stage that the Legal Tech Lab provides.

About Kertos

Kertos automates Data Privacy Operations. Data privacy is an operative nightmare. Many companies don’t know which kind of tools they are using, what kind of data they have, who is responsible. And very simple topics like “Can you please delete my data” cause a huge issue. That’s why Kertos automates this whole privacy operations and their main target groups are B2C heavy scale-ups, so the more data the better and the newer the tech infrastructure the easier for Kertos to integrate.

Learn more about Kertos in our Blog-Post and on their website.