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Black History Month: Celebrating the success of Black founders with Google Cloud: F8th

February 24, 2023
Vivene Salmon Gagné

Co-Founder & Chief Legal Officer, F8th

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Editor's note: February is Black History Month — a time for us to come together to celebrate the diverse identities and perspectives that make up the Black experience. Over the next few weeks, we will highlight Black-led startups and how they use Google Cloud to grow their businesses. Today’s feature highlights cybersecurity company F8th and its co-founder, Vivene Salmon Gagné.

It’s long been acknowledged that two-factor authentication (2FA) could benefit from an additional layer of security. Without extra protection for 2FA, devices and data are vulnerable to cyberattacks ranging from phishing and ransomware to monster-in-the-middle (MitM) and spoofing.

This is why my husband Jonathan Gagné and I built F8th, a cybersecurity company to help businesses seamlessly authenticate users and continuously protect against cyberattacks. Our comprehensive security platform leverages machine learning (ML) to non-intrusively verify identities continuously and proactively detect suspicious activity by analyzing keyboard, mouse, and touchscreen interactions.


Training biometric algorithms with up to a 99.9% accuracy rate

Shortly after founding F8th, we participated in a series of startup programs including Startup-in-residence Montreal, Canadian Technology Accelerator Silicon Valley, and Google Cloud Accelerator Canada. The incredible support and guidance we received during and after these accelerators highlighted the importance of long-term collaboration with knowledgeable, reliable technology partners. 

That’s why we became part of the Google for Startups Cloud Program. Joining the program gave us immediate access to dedicated Google Cloud experts and Google Cloud credits which we used to cost-effectively trial, deploy, and optimize key Google Cloud solutions. In just weeks, we seamlessly migrated our legacy technology stack to Google Cloud and quickly rolled out new behavioral biometry-based cybersecurity solutions to protect customer devices, applications, and data.

Jonathan Gagné, CEO and Co-founder and Vivene Salmon Gagné, Co-founder & Chief Legal Officer of F8th

We now rely on the highly secure Google Cloud environment to power the expansive F8th platform. Specifically, we leverage the Machine Learning (ML) capabilities through multiple ML platforms such as TensorFlow to create and train behavioral biometric algorithms that verify users and detect fraudulent activity with up to a 99.9% accuracy rate. These advanced algorithms run on Cloud GPUs to efficiently support F8th’s high-availability, low-latency requirements.

We use Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to efficiently manage customer deployments, and we also store and encrypt everything on Cloud Storage. We continue to work closely with Google for Startup experts to explore how additional Google Cloud AI and machine learning products such as AutoML and Vertex AI can help F8th further optimize detection of suspicious login activity and unauthorized account access.

With F8th, hundreds of companies can enable highly-secure and easy-to-use continuous authentication experiences across all devices and applications. As we expand our team, we’ll introduce new solutions and services such as the one-click authentication that make it even easier for businesses to prevent fraudulent activity while safeguarding customer information.

Achieving success with the help of Google Cloud Accelerator Canada

The Google for Startups Cloud Program and Google Cloud Accelerator Canada have been invaluable to our success. Since completing the programs, we refined our fundraising strategy, dramatically accelerated time to market, and increased sales. We’ve also brought on Peter Norvig, director of AI research at Google, as an advisory board member. 

Our achievements highlight the importance of building a solid support network by reaching out to others for guidance and regularly meeting with like-minded founders and mentors. Tapping the extensive knowledge and experience of our peers has enabled our company to avoid major missteps and rapidly transform ideas into innovative, marketable products with more than 14,000 licenses sold.

However, it’s important to recognize that long-standing biases and funding inequality make it especially difficult for many Black founders to navigate the complex startup landscape. Because of this, I encourage Black founders to learn more about the Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders and the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, along with other organizations such as Melanin.Tech, Harlem Capital, and the Black Business Association (BBA).

Participating in programs hosted by community-focused accelerators empowers Black founders to boost crucial skill sets with workshops and deep-dive sessions that focus on technical product design, sales tactics, and leadership growth. They also offer Black founders opportunities to connect with their peers, ask experienced entrepreneurs for advice, and access equity-free support.

 F8th team members

Launching F8th in new markets worldwide

With the support and mentorship of the Google for Startups Cloud Program, F8th continues to win recognition and accolades from many international tech accelerators and competitions, including the Canadian Fintech Summit, Desjardins Fintech Cadence Cybersecurity Challenge, Founders Fund Pitch, and techUK Cyber Innovation Den Pitch Competition.

As we grow our team, we’ll work closely with Google experts to develop additional security solutions and launch F8th in new markets worldwide. We’re looking forward to seeing what F8th accomplishes next as we transform our startup into one of the cybersecurity industry’s most trusted platforms for advanced behavior biometry solutions.  

If you want to learn more about how Google Cloud can help your startup, visit our page here to get more information about our program, and sign up for our communications to get a look at our community activities, digital events, special offers, and more.

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