Tampa startup Real Random LLC, which creates a multi-factor data security solution, has reached a new milestone.
Real Random, founded in 2014, makes software for secure authentication to manage passcodes. The technology works by changing or randomizing the passcodes so it makes it more difficult for a hacker to steal or sell someone’s passcodes.
The company has wrapped up its prototype and is preparing for a pilot phase to demonstrate its proof of concept. Founder Doug Hill said once the company completes the pilot phase, it will proceed to raise Series A funding and prepare for commercialization.
“We are working on a pilot phase with Hatch 130, a website development company and reseller of our product. We are aiming to leverage the results of the pilot program to secure others in the e-commerce, health care and defense industries,” Hill said.
The hope is to raise $3 million and ramp up the team. Hill currently works with three contractors and is planning to have several permanent team members including two senior engineers.
“We will need the funds to support the commercialization and growth,” he said.
How this land developer took a chance and rolled the dice
Prior to establishing Real Random, Hill worked as a land developer in Delaware.
“I worked in land development for 10 years with my dad and his partner. In 2011, we were in a good position and sold a lot of properties at a high evaluation like how today’s market is grossly overvalued. I was looking at what I might do next. As I was processing my father-in-law’s estate, I saw a patent for a machine,” Hill said.
The concept was to have a machine that could randomize dice and have a hardware component.
With the inheritance of the patent, Hill shared his father-in-law’s vision of gearing the technology toward the casino and gaming industry.
Hill pitched the concept to companies in the casino industry, but was ultimately rejected.
“I asked a math professor I knew about what I should do after being rejected and he said to use it for encryption,” Hill said.
The focus then shifted to devoting time and resources to create a system that would generate randomized numbers to enhance cybersecurity. Hill spent six years developing the hardware needed for the technology to eventually reach this transitional moment.
“People’s passwords are the No. 1 source of a breach. Passwords can be lost, stolen or sold. If it is sold, that is the riskiest because the person selling a user’s password doesn’t know what’s going to happen with their information,” Hill said. “We regenerate passwords where they expire after 30 seconds.”
Hill, who is originally from Delaware, started Real Random in his Marco Island home. He then temporarily moved his business operations to the business accelerator Tampa Bay Wave until he joined the Jeff Vinik-back coworking hub Embarc Collective in 2020.
“When I came here in 2019 for the Synapse Summit, I looked out from Amalie Arena and saw cranes everywhere. It was exciting to see. Compared to Miami, Tampa seemed like a friendlier and safer city, and was emerging as blockchain and cybersecurity hub,” Hill said about his attraction to build the company in Tampa.
Although switching gears from land development to becoming a founder of a tech firm may seem like a drastic pivot, Hill said the two career paths are more similar than what many people may think.
“There are parallels in land development and starting Real Random – both are complicated processes that require skills in mitigating risks, managing capital and being patient,” Hill said.