Digitally sign legally valid certification contracts

With Certifaction, digitally sign your contracts safely and legally as soon as possible

Please introduce yourself and the startup Certifaction to our readers!

My name is Benoît Henry, CEO of Certifaction, I am French and I have lived with my family in Zurich for 16 years. I studied at HEC Paris, but Japanese cultures fascinated me from an early age, so I also learned Japanese at university. After my studies I lived in different Asian cities (Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore) where I followed an intensive course on very different subjects: recovery and M&A in Japan, go-to-market in mainland China or in other Asian countries, digital launches of international brands across Asia and much more.

Founded in 2020, Certifaction is our youngest baby. I deliberately say ‘our’ and not ‘mine’ because it really is a team adventure with a great founding team united by shared values. Certifaction supports companies in the digitization of their signature processes without jeopardizing the confidentiality of their data. With Certifaction, organizations can have their contracts digitally signed securely and legally in a very short time. This saves them the costs of the physical signing process and also reduces their paper consumption – which ultimately improves the environmental footprint.

Why did you decide to start a business?

The central idea behind Certifaction was: digitization is important, but it also carries risks, especially with regard to security and data protection. Therefore, our cornerstones are “Zero Knowledge” and “Zero Trust”. Because we don’t know anything about your data, you don’t have to trust us to protect it well. This gives us a huge competitive advantage, especially against US competitors who are required to comply with US cloud law.

End-to-end client-side encryption prevents data leakage to unauthorized third parties: only customers and their contractual partners have access to their data.

Additionally, with a digital contract without security precautions, anyone with minimal knowledge of image processing can forge a signature. We have developed a solution that makes document identity fraud impossible.

What is the vision behind Certification?

We want to secure digital signatures and leave data sovereignty to those who should have it: their owners. Unlike most e-signature providers, we therefore rely on a privacy-focused approach.

From the idea to the start: what have been the biggest challenges so far and how have you financed yourself?

There are always challenges. Looking back, that was especially the case in the beginning. We founded Certifaction in March 2020. At the time, many people told me that it was not the right time to start a business because we were only at the beginning of the pandemic.

But we had a great team, great customers, and investors ready to support our privacy-driven vision. It is ultimately the most important.

Who is Certifaction’s target audience?

Basically any organization that wants to digitally sign documents securely. Our core business takes place in sectors where data protection, security and privacy play a central role, for example in the government sector and in the financial and healthcare sectors.

How does certification work? What are the advantages? What sets you apart from other providers?

With the help of Certifaction, companies can have digital contracts (e.g. employment and rental contracts) legally signed by all contracting parties – in seconds. The advantages: it only takes a few minutes before the legally valid signature is reached, instead of several weeks with a postal signature process.

Unlike other providers, we focus on protecting our customers’ data: Certifaction never has access to the data that customers store in our data centers in Switzerland. End-to-end client-side encryption prevents data leakage to unauthorized third parties: only customers and their contractual partners have access to their data.

Our own electronic signature standard “Professional eSignature” (PES) offers companies the possibility of obtaining legally valid signatures for B2C contracts without any legal form requirements. The verification is carried out in a tamper-proof way via a digital agent. Organizations therefore do not have to resort to the more expensive qualified electronic signature (QES).

Certification, where are we going? Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, 99% of signing processes across all industries will be digital. Certifaction will help organizations make their e-signatures simple and secure without relying on large US corporations: zero-knowledge and privacy-first are deeply embedded in Certifactions’ DNA and we will help organizations maintain sovereignty over their data.

Finally: What 3 pieces of advice would you give to future founders?

Culture eats strategy for breakfast: A good work atmosphere that fosters trust, personal responsibility and accountability is the key to success.

It’s about people: make sure you have the right team on board. Also make sure you have the right investors on board who will support your vision and challenge you in the right way.

Experiment, test and make informed strategic decisions. Once you’ve tested and identified the right idea, do whatever it takes to make that vision a reality.

We thank Benoît Henry for the interview

Statements by author and interview partner do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editors and publisher

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