16. Laura Mather

Cofounder of Chief Strategy Officer of Silver Tail Systems, How To Think Like Your Enemy

Here's Laura Mather's own answer to an interview question she poses to job applicants at her website security firm (which works with ING Direct and StubHub, among others). Silver Tail Systems uniquely maps all users' behavior at a site—then spots the crooks.

To do that, Mather needs a team that can think like the bad guys. "Before I meet a prospective new client, I essentially do what criminals would do," she says. When she unveils how she and her team could unhinge a prospect's site, "people usually say, "Wow, yeah, we need what you have."

Timeline

  • 1998

    Earns PhD in Computer Science from the University of Colorado

  • 1997

    Joins National Security Agency as a research mathematician

  • 2003

    Joins eBay to work on phishing and fraud defense; designs and sponsors the world's first online real-time fraud-fighting tools

  • 2005

    eBay/PayPal moves down from #1 to #2 on phisher's list of most desirable targets

  • 2007

    Becomes the Managing Director of Operational Policy for the AntiPhishing Working Group

  • 2007

    Comes up with the idea that would become Silver Tail Systems

  • 2009

    Silver Tail begins winning a number of awards as an up-and-coming tech company

  • 2011

    Secures $20 million Series B funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz

  • 2011

    Gives birth to son Alex Eynon; Silver Tail grows from 15 to 70 employees during the pregnancy

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