The tech security veteran has had an interesting first month
“I don’t think you can use the word typical,” says Steve Munford from the other side of a computer screen with a chuckle, when asked about the first month in his new job.
Fair enough. After all, Munford’s first official day as CEO of Vancouver-based identity verification service Trulioo landed on the same date in mid-March that the company went remote. That day began with him walking down to his basement and turning on Zoom.
But Munford, who was able to meet several of his 150 or so team members in person at the beginning of March, when he was hired, says it’s been a relatively smooth transition.
“We’re a technology company, and we had already built the systems to work remotely, so the company didn’t miss a beat.”
The reality is that Munford spends much of his day on Zoom calls, and he’s making the best of it. “We could be at a coffee shop right now and it might be a little nicer, but I think it’s pretty good.”
In any case, if Munford and Trulioo have had any trouble transitioning from the company’s former CEO, co-founder Stephen Ufford (now the chair of the board), neither seems to be showing it.
“We serve some of the biggest online commerce players, payment players, people involved in the online digital world,” says Munford, who acknowledges that some of Trulioo’s clients, like those in the hospitality business, for instance, have struggled. But the uptick in other industries such as online gaming and the overall reliance on online financial transactions has helped offset those hardships.
It’s not hard to see why Trulioo opted to bring on the tech security veteran, a Toronto native who first came to Vancouver after receiving an MBA from Queen’s University. A few years later, in 2000, Munford was hired as the president of ActiveState, an open source languages software company. When British cybersecurity multinational Sophos bought that business three years after his arrival, it tapped him to serve as COO and then CEO.
But after a while, Munford knew he had to get back home.
“My kids were becoming British, and I needed to give them a chance to be raised in Canada for their teenage years at least,” he recalls with a laugh.
Munford spent several years acting as chair and director for various companies, including a six-month stint as interim CEO of Boston-based cloud security outfit Carbonite in 2019. So it’s no real surprise when he mentions his experience in the sector as one of the main assets he brings to Trulioo.
“The team here has created a great product that’s clearly gained traction. But at this stage, we need to figure out how to go global and expand internationally, and certainly my experience in Europe is helpful,” he says, underlining the importance of scaling up. “Getting the company to the first $100 million in sales, the second and third $100 million in sales, and the chance to help the company through those stages, I think I can add value there.”
As for what enticed him, Mumford doesn’t mince words: “I think Trulioo has an opportunity to be one of the most exciting tech companies in Vancouver. It’s been a pretty quiet company, especially relative to others in the industry locally. But it’s kind of emerged over the last 10 years, and especially in the last three or four years.”
He points to Trulioo’s leadership in helping to facilitate financial inclusion and help solve identity fraud issues, especially in poorer countries, as key drivers that have allowed it to grow quickly while remaining cash-flow positive.
“In a nutshell, I don’t think there’s too many opportunities here in Vancouver to build something that’s truly global at scale and can be an industry leader,” he says. “For the last 15 years, I’ve been doing things in different cities, and I really wanted to come back and do something in the local community, something that’s really impactful.”
Welcome home, Steve. Not like you can go anywhere else now, anyway.