27 August 2021
Andrew Bud, iProov’s Founder and CEO, was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s 2020 New Year’s Honours List. Andrew’s award was for services to exports in science and technology.
A CBE is the highest-ranking award below a Knighthood of the Order of the British Empire, followed by OBE and then MBE. It is awarded to people who have made a distinguished contribution to the nation in any field. Recipients must also meet the highest standards of probity and integrity.
Congratulations on your achievement, Andrew. What was it like to go to the palace for the investiture? Can you tell us what Princess Anne said to you?
The investiture itself was a striking experience because it was deeply formal, yet very unstuffy. There was a relaxed majesty combined with perfect manners and an effortless sense of poise. The whole occasion had a sense of being very intimate and I felt very intensely the privilege of being there.
Princess Anne was extremely well briefed on who I was and what iProov is doing. She asked me several questions that showed real knowledge – she asked about my personal trajectory from engineer to entrepreneur, and we also talked about other industry and technical matters, including the threat of deepfakes. She also made me laugh!
St James’ Palace is also one of the most beautiful of English Baroque buildings. It was marvelous to have the opportunity to visit and admire it.
How did you find out that you had been awarded a CBE and what was the process behind it all?
I received a letter from the Cabinet Office at the beginning of November 2019. Nothing really prepares you for that letter. It said that the Prime Minister was recommending me to be appointed Commander of the British Empire. My wife said that my hands shook as I read it.
It remained the deepest of secrets until the nomination was published in the Official Gazette a few days after Christmas. I told my children about it a few hours beforehand.
Soon afterwards, I received the invitation to Buckingham Palace for the investiture at the beginning of April 2020. Of course, that was then canceled due to the pandemic. By the time it could happen, Buckingham Palace was undergoing building work, so it took place at St. James’ Palace instead. That meant I could bring only my wife and no other family member, but also that she could participate in the investiture, which is unusual.
How did it feel, being nominated? What does this mean to you?
I can’t overstate the wonderful strangeness of it all. I’ve been a struggling entrepreneur most of my life. I’ve been involved in some great things, and it’s true they brought recognition from my peers, which was extremely welcome and gratifying.
But as an entrepreneur, you can tend to think of yourself as that guy way off the mainstream doing his best with a large responsibility unnoticed by the wider world. Then when something like this happens, a very public recognition, it’s a very startling experience.
I was particularly delighted to see my children’s responses. It really surprised them – I think they too have an image of me as a dedicated entrepreneur laboring away in the dark, so discovering that their Dad’s contribution to technology had been recognized at the highest level was special for them. And the greatest thing you can possibly do, I think, is to make your children proud of you. That’s one of my metrics for success in life.
You were made a CBE for services to exports in science and technology – can you tell us a bit about your career and what led to this?
I was very proud that the CBE recognized my work in building exports in science and technology. I started out as an engineer, which led me to lead a project to build the world’s first consumer digital wireless telephone, and subsequently to pioneer wireless data and mobile phone networks with Olivetti in Italy.
I then spotted the enormous opportunity of SMS and set up mBlox, which became the world’s largest provider of SMS transmission for enterprise applications.
I think the CBE also recognizes my 20 years with the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), an international trade association I helped found. I’ve been the chairman of that for 13 years.
Almost a decade ago I embarked on a new challenge with the search for trust in digital identity. This is perhaps even bigger and more vital than anything I’ve done before.
You’ve established iProov with a mission to bring trust to the internet through biometric authentication. What’s next for you and for iProov?
The CBE also recognizes the scale of iProov’s achievements in winning major business right across the world – in the United States, Europe, Africa, Singapore and Australia. Now I have an added obligation to ensure that iProov builds further on the worldwide impact that this award recognizes.
We have made great strides on our journey to keep people safe online around the world, but it’s a multi-year mission spanning many countries, different sectors, and billions of people. The challenges from cybercriminals will only increase, so we have to continually exert ourselves to stay ahead of the brilliant and well-resourced people who are trying to do harm online.
Ultimately, to fulfill its mission, iProov will have to become a very large global company employing thousands of people worldwide. The next step for me is making sure that happens.
To learn more about Andrew, read more about his CBE here, his fellowship with the Royal Academy of Engineering here, or listen to his interview with the Mobile Ecosystem Forum here.
To learn more about iProov, you can visit our About Us page, read our record-breaking growth in the first half of 2021, or apply to work with us. If you’d like to learn more about iProov’s technology, book a demo.