March 31 2020
Earlier this year, we announced the opening of our iProov US office, in Catonsville, Maryland, at the bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park. Read more here.
Joe Palmer, President of iProov Inc, has been leading the expansion, both strategically and tactically. A founder member of the iProov team, Joe and his family relocated to the US this year to continue building the North American team with iProov culture and values.
How long have you been working at iProov?
I met Andrew Bud, CEO and Founder of iProov, nearly eight years ago. We were introduced through my former supervisor at University College London (UCL), Professor Phillip Treleaven. Andrew had asked Professor Treleaven to recommend someone with development skills who could help him change the world with a new idea.
Andrew explained his idea very well – I was really excited by what I heard and knew he was onto something special – so I came on board. For the first 18 months at iProov, I was focused on developing code. This included a basic Android app, an API and a core analysis system that used GPUs to accelerate the image processing. Dominic Forrest, our now-CTO, joined in 2013 and between the two of us, we redesigned the system and built a new version that was architectured to allow us to scale. It’s been improved hugely since then, but the basic micro-services architecture we developed back then is still the foundation of what we have at iProov today.
It was at this point iProov needed to scale up and start supporting large systems. We started to expand the workforce and built a structured tech team. I took on responsibility for the external facing software including web services, SDKs, APIs and integration documentation.
It wasn’t long before we were getting a lot of serious interest from customers. I moved into a more strategic commercial role helping to demonstrate what iProov could do for each bank or government department. We had one sales executive at the time and we became a dream team talking to customers. We closed our first deal with a large European bank and everything took off.
How did your move to the US come about?
We were growing rapidly in Europe, and commercial traction was starting to build in North America. We had a discussion internally and agreed that a US office was needed. I went home to discuss it with my pregnant wife and she agreed that it was a good time for us to make that move. After our daughter, Sophie, was born, we flew out as a family to the RSA conference to look at the US with a new perspective – our future home.
There were a lot of preparations – obviously for my wife and I from a personal point of view, but also for iProov in making changes to the team ready for my relocation. And then earlier this year we made the move and are now settled in a house in Maryland.
What do you miss most about the UK?
I do miss the actual UK office on the South Bank in London. There’s a real buzz about commuting into the city and being part of this incredible global hub. My journey – 30 minutes commute on public transport – allowed me prep time and thinking time ahead of my day.
The UK office is also an incredibly collaborative place. We have a very flexible policy on working from home but most iProovers choose to come in as often as possible, as there’s an energy and a lot of inspiration flying around. We’ve scaled up very quickly but we’ve put good structure in place to ensure that people know what’s going on and who does what, even as we expand.
I’m looking forward to building out the US team – we already have several people onboard – and I’ll be working with my colleague Simon Williamson to extend iProov’s unique, infectious, passionate company culture across the pond.
What does the future hold for iProov Inc and your North American team?
North America is at a different stage to Europe and Asia-Pacific in terms of its understanding of biometric authentication. We’re bringing tried and tested use cases that have delivered huge benefits both to the business and the consumer, and that’s been incredibly important. The US in particular is a different market with its own unique challenges and opportunities so whilst it feels familiar, it is actually a fundamentally different landscape. It’s an exciting time for iProov and for the Palmers!