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By Karen Zimmerman, Managing Director at Golden Seeds and Lead Investor in DEVCON
How catching an ad fraud thief who stole $1 million inspired one founder to create an anti-fraud software company for publishers:
After working with law enforcement to facilitate the first-ever conviction for online ad theft and money laundering, Maggie Louie knew she could help solve this costly problem for publishers. Her passion to do so was driven by deep roots in journalism and a commitment to preserving independent reporting.
Prior to developing DEVCON, a cybersecurity software company for news media publishers, Louie created digital products for the Los Angeles Times, E.W. Scripps and American Public Media. It was during this time her interest in protecting digital revenue grew as she saw how much damage ad fraud was doing.
Below, I speak with Louie about the impact of her software and how she’s moving the industry forward.
KZ: Tell us about the origins of your company.
ML: I started the company in 2017 after catching a hacker who had exploited a publisher site and stole an estimated $1 million. After helping win the first-ever conviction for these crimes, I realized ad fraud wasn’t going away; it was a huge issue that publishing and journalism needed to solve.
In recent years, the publishing and advertising industry has come under siege from ad fraud. An estimated $19 billion is stolen each year by advertising cyber criminals, and by 2020, researchers suggest that will rise to $44 billion. We launched our proprietary anti-fraud technology to stop this number from growing. Already, we’ve blocked more than six million exploit attempts and stopped $18 million from getting into the hands of these online fraudsters.