Austin Ogilvie: The Maverick Changing the Game in Digital Compliance 

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Automation is gaining popularity all across the world. Every industry is moving toward or has already switched to software-based solutions. From low-/no-code tools to chatbots and machine learning (ML)/artificial intelligence (AI) decision systems, automation technologies are being leveraged for increased productivity everywhere you look. And threats in cybersecurity, including data breaches, Trojan attacks, phishing, and more, are growing at an even faster clip. The more companies and economies rely on third-party software, the more frequent and consequential these risks are.

After recognizing shortcomings in tools to manage digital compliance and information assurance, Austin Ogilvie founded Thoropass (formerly Laika) along with co-founders Eva Pittas and Sam Li. Thoropass is a compliance automation platform that helps companies manage security and privacy controls without slowing down business operations. The solution includes software to manage policies and procedures, track and monitor controls, and access various compliance and information assurance services. Inside Thoropass, there is a lot going on—they raised a $50M Series C in Nov ‘22 and just did a full rebrand from Laika to Thoropass. Let us begin by exploring the journey of this compliance tech company and getting to know its leadership.

Austin’s Path to Entrepreneurship

Austin studied Arabic and Spanish at the University of Virginia, graduating with a degree in foreign affairs. Later, he relocated to New York City to build products at OnDeck Capital, a venture-backed FinTech startup that leverages machine learning to automate small business lending decisions. His experience building products at the intersection of software and data 

prompted him to launch his first startup, ŷhat, a data science platform, which he ran until 2017 when Alteryx acquired the company (NYSE: AYX).

Austin was under a lot of pressure from prospective customers and vendors to demonstrate compliance with different security and privacy standards. This problem motivated him to start Thoropass, a complete compliance solution that helps customers build robust security and privacy programs to meet various frameworks such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, HITRUST, and more. His dedication to driving ethical innovation has made him a big name in data science and a respected entrepreneur.

Thoropass: The Compliance Partner You Need

Thoropass is at the forefront of the most recent developments in compliance-as-a-service software. It has developed an industry-leading all-in-one solution for digital compliance. Thoropass recognizes the importance of compliance in today’s business landscape, and its technology guides businesses through every stage of the compliance process. Its comprehensive solution includes implementation, operation, continuous monitoring, and

audit and assurance services. Thoropass blends easy-to-use software tools with unmatched expertise to help customers manage and maintain auditable system security and data privacy. Thoropass provides customers with a dynamic compliance dashboard to make compliance even more effortless. This dashboard ensures team alignment and frictionless communication. Customers can easily monitor their compliance status to ensure they are always running a tight ship.

Privacy and security risks posed by machine learning have grown considerably in recent years. “Concerns around consumer rights, privacy, and security are now a top priority among legislators,” says Austin. “Creating ML/AI approaches that correspond with the principles we all care about is beyond important.”

This is a vital technical goal for the industry and one that Austin believes is a big opportunity for Thoropass to expand its suite of audit and assurance products as compliance with AI rules and regulations becomes more important.

Catering Best Compliance Solutions in the Market

Thoropass has established itself as the ultimate choice for companies seeking to streamline security and privacy compliance.

  • One standout aspect of Thoropass is its unparalleled internal expertise. Recognizing the intricacies of compliance, the company has assembled a team of seasoned experts to provide invaluable guidance. By automating appropriate processes and offering expert advice, Thoropass ensures a seamless compliance experience.
  • Another notable feature is Thoropass’s distinction as the sole compliance software approved as a HITRUST External Assessor. This remarkable achievement signifies that they have met the rigorous standards established by HITRUST, guaranteeing the utmost quality in their solutions.
  • Furthermore, Thoropass delivers an effortless security audit experience as part of its comprehensive product suite. Led by specialized auditors well-versed in the challenges of compliance within the modern business landscape, Thoropass maintains a seamless and efficient audit process.

Building a Culture of Excellence

During its rebranding from Laika, Thoropass seized the chance to revamp its values, aligning them with the company’s identity. The updated core values encompass the following:

  • Embrace calculated risks: These values steer the team’s decision-making, emphasizing the importance of quality over speed.
  • Be curious, ask, and learn: Thoropass fosters a culture of ongoing learning and making data-driven decisions.
  • Win together: The company emphasizes leaving egos behind to foster an environment where the best ideas emerge.
  • Move the needle: Thoropass encourages feedback as a means to continuously enhance their work.

Thoropass’s values go beyond lip service and are visible in every aspect of the company, from the interview process to weekly meetings. These values reflect their steadfast dedication to excellence, teamwork, and ongoing improvement.

Partnering with Every Industry

“Security and privacy are non-negotiable for businesses of all sizes and industries,” says Austin. Every company needs a fundamental set of controls. Thoropass provides turnkey tools to run an auditable security program and ensure its efficacy. It has a wide range of clients, including public companies in industries including manufacturing, supply chain, digital health, financial services, and more. From a stage perspective, Thoropass services companies of all sizes, from early-stage SaaS providers to large fintech and digital health firms.

Partnering with Thoropass means working with a team of compliance architects and customer success managers. They ensure ongoing success by guiding clients through every step of their journey. The team works hard to ensure a smooth experience, smoothing any bumps that may arise along the way. With Thoropass, companies can have peace of mind, knowing that their security and privacy are in expert hands.

Navigating Growth and Opportunities

Austin is aware of how a founder’s job has changed. Since the company was incorporated in 2019, his duties have frequently changed. Austin and his co-founders, Sam Li and Eva Pittas, were initially active in all aspects of the business, including design, coding, sales, fundraising, and more. But as the team expanded and they hired a sales and marketing team, Austin’s attention shifted to establishing those divisions of the business. To guarantee that Thoropass stands out in the market, he now works directly with strategic clients, expands the ecosystem and community presence, and focuses on product differentiation as Executive Chair.

Growing as a Leader

Leaders, no matter how remarkable, are constantly growing as they embark on a leadership journey. Austin understands that true leadership begins with honest self-reflection. He values qualities such as generosity, humility, gratitude, good communication, learning, and exhibiting trust and respect for his team. Austin emphasizes the value of authenticity and seeks guidance from his cofounders and a network of seasoned CEOs and CTOs for personal development. Coaching plays a crucial role in his quest for success, equipping him with invaluable skills. Through these practices, Austin continues to flourish as a leader on his path to greatness.

The Art of Digital Detox

A smart businessman is recognized for his unique approach to the industry. For that, one needs to have a calm and composed mindset. He notes the importance of unplugging and sacking his phone in a Faraday bag for digital detoxification. “For me, it’s important to get out of the city to climb, hike, or kayak,” he says. “I think most of us have an upper limit for creative and strategic thinking, making it all the more important to pause, reflect, and recharge the batteries.”

Advice to Aspiring Leaders

Austin had a couple of personal pieces of advice that would help every existing and aspiring entrepreneur.

  • Don’t underestimate the value of concise, well-written prose.
  • Getting good at keyboard shortcuts, Excel/Google Sheets, Salesforce, SQL, and Python is worth the investment.
  • Be generous with your time and address book—it pays off, in the long run, many times over.
  • Don’t be a jerk. Startups are hard; be kind to yourself.


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Also Read: The 10 Influential Tech Leaders, 2023

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