Pioneering Quantum IT Security — Interview with Francis Bellido, CEO of Quantum eMotion

by | Dec 21, 2021 | Podcast

Francis Bellido, CEO of Quantum eMotion, comes on the Sticky Branding Podcast.

Quantum eMotion is a publicly-traded company that is transforming the IT security sector with quantum computing. They create algorithms that are virtually unhackable. Francis shares key lessons on leadership, and how to guide a company in a pre-sales state.

Francis speaks to the changing security landscape, and how Quantum eMotion’s addresses the growing demand for affordable hardware security.

This is a fascinating interview you won’t want to miss.

Francis Bellido is the CEO of Quantum eMotion. Dr. Bellido spent his career overseeing and leading the development of several organizations in the healthcare industry. He is leading Quantum eMotion to be a leader in quantum IT security.

In This Episode

  • Francis Bellido discusses the rapidly shifting world of cyber security, and the role of quantum computing.
  • Over 95% of devices are under-protected. The risk to corporate IT and privacy is immense.
  • Dr. Bellido shares his philosophy of leading through change.
  • Where to prioritize capital when developing and bringing pre-revenue products to market.
  • Francis says it all boils down to people. Invest in the best and brightest.

Show Links

Transcript

– [Narrator] Brand X brand Y brand Z, not one sticks. Watch it again in slow motion.

– Welcome to the Sticky Branding podcast. In this show we are unpacking how companies grow sticky brands. My name is Jeremy Miller, I am the founder of Sticky Branding and host of the Sticky Branding podcast. In today’s episode. I am very excited to introduce you to Francis Bellido. Francis is the CEO of Quantum Emotion. Francis, welcome to the show.

– Hello. Hi, I am very happy to be with you, Jeremy.

– I think the easiest place for us to start, and it’s always a good way to test your marketing too is tell us your story. So tell me about what is Quantum Emotion, who are you guys and what do you do?

– Okay, so Quantum Emotion is a company is a spinoff of university here in Canada, in Quebec, in particularly university of Sherbrooke, who was created around the invention of famous world renowned professor of quantum physics, Bertrand Roulet, who was originally a French who get established here in Quebec in Canada. And either he had an invention, you know, I mean, based on what he studied, specialist in quantum noise studying, that it could very simply created what we call generators of random numbers using the, I would say the interesting property of quantum physics. And with the potential of using that technology to create the smallest, to the most reliable and performance and affordable, and actually the key is probably the affordable QRNG, quantum random number generator that could be actually be in the market.

– Wow. So before we talk about the technology and the applications of it, I’m curious, how did you get your start with quantum emotion? Where do you come in in the story.

– My background is a little bit typical, I would say these type of company because I’m a scientist, you know, originally and also a financial guy, because I did an MBA a long time ago in, you know, specialized in finance, and I’ve been involved in the financing of technologies for the past 25 years. But my focus, you know, because of my scientific background was more in life science. I came across this company when I helped the company beginning of the year to do a financing, sort of a private placement because the company is a public company and I helped them to do a private placement. And the reason why I think there was some connection with me in the background is because while one of the low hanging fruit application of this technology is in the medical device sector. And I have a pretty strong background in medical device, even from a scientific point of view, and the connection was made like that. And also I think I had a personal interest in cyber security. Because as we know, you know, everybody in every industry, and I will probably, we could develop that down the road is affected by a cyber criminality. So that connection was there.

– So that’s a great segue. We’re talking about cyber security. So what is the core application of quantum random number generation? And so is a security protocol or where do we use that?

– No, I mean, when you in cyber security, it’s very, very complex space, you know, because at the end, you know, particularly when you look at the internet as almost like is becoming a universe a parallel universe. You know, I mean, we created that, you know, and, that universe, in fact, you know, there are all kinds of phenomenons and vectors that we don’t really control or understand. I mean, the internet is all about communication and exchange of information. Some are trivial information, a lot is actually very confidential information, okay? So I mean, security of that transmission of information is becoming absolutely crucial in becoming a fact strategic or almost every vector of the economy, and actually our personal lives too. So the public, you know, your auditors need to understand that the security, how do you ensure security over the internet is actually assured by the usage of a what’s called public key crypto systems and cryptography algorithm. This is a very complex domain in itself. But everything that actually travels over the internet is encrypted, okay? The quality of the encryptions is going to depend actually on the quality of the random numbers that are used to create these encryption keys. And this is key, I mean, random numbers, you know, I mean, basically it’s a series of numbers that are produced in fact, to be able to do these encryptions, but, you know, there are purely, they’re random when there is no connection one number after another. That means that somebody would like to try to decipher, you know, the encryption key, well could guess what would be the next, you know, number based actually on his comprehension of the coding actually, or the encryption key. So if you don’t rely on pure random numbers, it becomes actually fairly, it would become more and more in the future, more and more easy, particularly if you have very powerful computers to decipher, you know, these encryption keys.

– Well, in preparing for today, one of the things I read and that blew me away is with the advent of quantum computing, it will basically put most passwords and most encryption systems out of, or break them simply ’cause they have the power now to force test these things and find that there are algorithms in astronomically fast periods of time. So is this really where this is coming in, is it’s in that next evolution of computing where QRNG really starts to be that next generation of security?

– Exactly, so that’s why we call it quantum numbers generators number two, you know, the second generation. It’s exactly because of that, you know, I mean, right now there is already a threat, you know, I mean, you know, because some of, you know, criminals, you know, particularly, I would say that the top notch, you know, they have the resources, the expertise, they’re very smart people, you know, they’re almost organized like an industry as you know today. They are teams, you know, and they can actually, they put the resources, they can crack almost anything they want and there’s been so many times they’ve demonstrated, you know, even when we thought it was almost intractable, they’ve demonstrated that they can do it, okay? But still today, I think it is more or less a reality to try to be able to crack very complex encryption system. However, the big threat, it’s coming, because as you say, as you pointed out, quantum computers are part of the big revolution coming on in quantum technologies, and there are, I mean, three components, three prongs of the quantum technologies. One is quantum computers, quantum sensors and quantum communication, like we do it. But the quantum computers are going to enhance the capacity of calculation, of processing of data by millions of times compared to current computers. So problems that will today with several computers will necessitate maybe even years, in fact, calculations, nonstop and everything, can be a resolve in a few hours. So this is going to change, when you’re going to associate that with artificial intelligence is going to be a revolution, you know, for not only almost every affecting every vector of the economy and even our personal lives, because at the end of the day, you know, these cute robots that you see in the Sci-Fi movies, you know? Well, when you associate artificial intelligence with quantum computers, you’re starting to be closer in order to mimic a human brain, you know?

– So when you’re bringing this to market and just looking at this through the marketing branding lens, are you having markets and customers, like you mentioned health care and other medical devices, are they coming to you to create and pioneer this technology or are you on the other side of this evangelizing and finding markets?

– Well, it’s both. Because, you know, I mean, there are already big players that are very aware of that, you know? So I mean, let’s go back to, for example, to quantum technologies, you know, all the big players like IBM, Google, Intel, you know, Amazon, they all actually are investing billions of dollars actually in developing quantum technologies. So it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, the debate is there, when is going to be ready or not. And obviously because of, we could debate here, what is the vector of the economy which is not affected by cybersecurity or not using computers, well, basically today doesn’t exist, everybody, you know, is using in one way and other computers because even a cellphone is actually, you know, hundreds of times the power of the computer we sent the first man in the moon. So it’s everything, it’s every sector. I mean, and when you know that, I mean, I don’t know, I mean, I think I read the other day that every second there is 170 device that are connected to the internet, you know, in the famous domain of the internet of things, and that over 95% of these device are not really well-protected when connected to the internet. That mean that creating doors of entrance, you know, for cyber criminals. You know, I mean, two weeks ago, I bought a new coffee maker, and guess, it’s connected to the internet? That thing, I didn’t even have a choice. You know, I mean, it’s connected to the internet and I have no idea how secure the thing is or not. So yes, every sector. But there are low hanging fruits, you know, for us, I would say in the near future, the big consumers actually of highly security, is going to be, as you very familiar were starting to be familiar is like blockchain, data centers. They are, they offer, in fact they sell cyber security at the core of what, you know, they’re promoting, okay? So they have no choice in fact, to, you know, to just develop in all their hires. In fact, quantum security is becoming almost like a marketing tool to differentiate yourself from the competition.

– Wow, so you can embed yourself as part of somebody’s solution and their brand. So how do you tell your story? Like this is fascinating technology, you are at the bleeding edge of where the market and technology and cybersecurity are, how does Quantum Emotion build its brand in that awareness in a very complex and technical realm.

– So I mean, I try, I mean, participated to conference, you know, with specialists, you know, on quantum technologies. That’s okay, you’re talking with the people who know what’s, you know, they have a very good knowledge of what’s coming and everything. Also, I spend a lot of time now talking to the public because we, in Quantum Emotion, we are actually a company was public, you know, in many ways. So, I mean, this is what I think I’m promoting. I talk to potential investors, said, look, guys, if you believe that quantum technologies are going to become a big thing in the near future and you want to somehow, you know, take advantage of that as an investor, well, there are not many public vehicles out there for investors, small investors, they cannot really invest in quantum technologies right now. So they look, you know, we could be actually very interesting for investors that wanna embark and jump into the wagon of quantum technologies.

– So your marketing both, not only to sell it, but also from the publicly traded perspectives and growing that,

– Exactly. fascinating. What about the pandemic? Has this helped or hindered your business? I would imagine the transitions to working from home and cyber security, this must’ve heightened things.

– Exactly. In fact today, I mean, and I know that you, like, from a marketing perspective, you don’t need to spend much time and effort to convince people that cyber security is important, because as you know, almost like every, today there’s a story on CNN or, you know, on any big network, you know, tolling that, you know, something happened, you know, big things up and crack, you know, and you could see that more and more. I think what’s alarming it’s that the story is starting to be before it was a threat and, you know, I mean theft of data, okay? Confidential data. And now we are evolving more and more into, in life and death situations. When a plant, you know, I mean, you know, I mean a water treatment plant is hacked, I mean, what they did is started and thank God, you know, that was discovered, you know, I mean soon enough actually to prevent any big damage. but they were actually changing the parameters of the purification. That means that you had potentially, you know, hundreds of thousands, a million people will probably be drinking, you know, unsuitable water or maybe dangerous toxic water, right? And so it’s becoming, before I think, and this is what the pandemic has done, I think is a big making cybersecurity it was a nuisance of becoming a big strategic issue.

– Right. And so when you’re looking at this now, where do you see the, you mentioned the internet of things, where do you see this frontier, like, there’s the stuff that’s in front of our face. We use our iPhones and our Android devices all the time, but it’s like your coffee machine. It always strikes me that especially the consumer IOT devices are often the weak link in every network.

– I believe that, I mean, I think the vision for the future, and this is what I, and technology is going to become more and more interesting is that we’re not just the solution solving everything because at the end, you know, I mean, cybersecurity will require many different approach because at the end of the day, take an example of your house, for example. You could have the, you know, I mean, build a house with all kinds of possible systems of security, but if you leave the door open, it’s not going to help you or, you know, you understand, or you forgot your keys somewhere, you know, and somebody replicates your key. So you cannot have just a technology solution. I mean, part of the problem with cyber security is educating people. But this is not, but I security, you know, I mean, and our technology is a hardware solution, you know, that actually could definitely enhance the level of cyber security to a levels that are going to become more and more difficult and extremely difficult for the criminals to hack, you know, and to get into, I would say, a door, you know, into the internet. And the reason why we believe our technology is going to be interesting, and I said into my very introduction of our interaction was that we can make actually very miniature, you know, I mean, QRNGS, and extreme also very cheap. So I think our vision is to do that in a few years, almost in every device, every component, you know, could be actually containing QRNG, and it becoming the backbone. It would come with the backbone actually of security and communication over the internet.

– And so where do you start on this? Where do you see as the beachhead for Quantum Emotion to get your foothold so that you can get to the everything?

– So what I did , the company, I mean is still a young technology. So we, I mean, part of the, I joined the company to put the company in the, I would say helping the company to be on the right tracks, accelerate the development of the product, I think we’ve done a very good job at that. We have right now, I mean, I think our first product will be sort of a portable QRNG that should be available before the end of the year. So we are moving forward, and this is the, it’s a platform technology where that will be the first iteration that will be help us actually to, you know, to show the world what it is, and also interact with a lot of players, because it’s always difficult to interact with a PowerPoint presentation, it’s way better to have something to show in your hand. So that’s the way, it’s a nascent technology, you know, but we’re moving forward and obviously based if we believe what I told you, I mean, you could see, I think part of the headache is try to focus on what is the first application on the low hanging fruit.

– Being that it’s young technology, a young team, and you’re at that commercialization stage, how do you focus your team from the perspective that they’re incredibly smart individuals and people, they’re scientists and engineers, but that transition into getting them to see and develop that market, how do you focus that team and get them to see the opportunity?

– I’ve started, actually when I joined the company, I basically had to renew almost the whole company. I started with the board and surrounded myself with basically, you know, I mean, very highly professional specialists in cyber security. Also because, you know, your company doesn’t yet have sales, you depend very much on capital invested in the company to grow the company and develop new technology. So also with, you know, very savvy and highly networked financial people. And also, I think, I’m recruiting, I’m always in the process of recruiting actually. We cannot recruit, you know, I mean, companies like ours, you know, need to be surrounded by highly qualified professionals. So my purpose as a CEO and particularly coming from a background that is purely IT is surrounding myself with where every individual will be smarter than me. I mean, this is what Jack, I learned, in my MBA from Jack Walsh, and I think it’s the right approach.

– Yeah, there’s that old quote A’s hire A’s, B’s hire C’s. But it’s easier said than done. Like it’s, like, people, every annual reports is people are our most important asset, but it to actually put that in a practice is hard.

– The key is always to make them work together.

– So before we wrap up, I’m curious, you’ve had a very diverse career and you’re pioneering just fascinating technology in a very complex space. When you speak with other leaders, other CEOs, what’s the best advice or wisdom that you share with them, or you can share with our audience?

– Well, the best advice is so many, but I mean, what I’ve learned anything is business is probably particularly when, because my career has been spent most like in developing technologies is try to be sure that you address an unmet need, okay? This is very important. Sometimes we get enamored with a better mouse trap instead of really addressing an unmet need. It’s too difficult to develop a better mouse trap. So the unmet need it’s very, very important, and of course, I think as you develop that unmet need, focus very immediately into the differentiation factors and try and really to make it actually, there are tangible enough to generate it enough into the around you from, I would say an employee point of view, but also I think from an investor point of view, that’s a very important. This is what I’ve learned, you know, I mean, it’s easy to say, but it’s no so, it’s pretty difficult sometimes actually to implement it.

– Oh yeah, it takes foresight and also effort. One of the big parts of the work that we do at Sticky Branding is some of that, it’s identifying and developing burning needs and solutions that support that, that’s where positioning often works, and so very kindred in that sense, but your assumptions of what an unmet need or a burning need is often aren’t really there, you have to go and do the research and test it and prove it. And then once you’ve proven it, put your foot on the gas and go for it.

– Absolutely.

– Like, you can look at the wake of failed companies through Silicon Valley and the startup realm where they misassumed what is the unmet need and it’s pivot, pivot, pivot, die.

– This is a very important thing that you said, you know, one of the mistakes, and easily to make that is to believe that what you believe, what you saw as an unmet need four or five years ago is still an unmet need today. And ultimately, and this is what is important to know, I think, to get a product rapidly in the hands of where you potential customers and listen to them and understanding better what they need, because they’re going to give you, in fact, very rapidly, they’re going to tell you if what you believed was an unmet need is really an unmet need at all or a nice to have. So it’s very key, I would say that, you know, and this is maybe another advice, maybe more important than what I mentioned here, is listen to your clients and customers.

– Yeah, that’s brilliant. Where can people find Quantum Emotion?

– Well, it’s fairly easy, you just, you know, www.quantumemotion. And if for the ones who wanted to know, I mean, what does it really mean Quantum Emotion? It’s actually, I mean, I changed the name of the company, used to be called the Quantum Numbers Corporation, but I saw that Quantum Emotion was a little bit more catchy, and on top of that, it’s actually can be read as an emotion, was interesting concept, you know, it adds a little bit of poetry. I belong as a scientist that quantum physics is probably the closest to poetry that you can imagine in science, because there are things that are completely still, you know, difficult to, you know, illogical and difficult to understand, you know, in quantum physics. But on top of that, actually, the phenomenon that we exploiting in quantum mechanics is due to the motion of electrons. So the E is the symbol of electrons, and motion, it means the movement. So you can read it several ways, you see?

– I wrote at my book brand new name names are like poetry. You can a word or two and you’ve absolutely…

– This is what I thought by creating the name and I thought that to exactly, it will intrigue, it will be catchy, but it will intrigue.

– That’s beautiful. Well, we’ll put links into the show notes for everybody. Thank you Francis for a participating, such an enlightening conversation, I’m so excited to see how you build this brand of technology over the coming years. And thank you everybody for tuning in to the Sticky Branding Podcast. Be sure to subscribe to us wherever you get your favorite podcasts. You can get this on YouTube as well, and visit us at stickybranding.com for more ideas, services and best practices on how to grow your business into a sticky brand.

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