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The founder’s story: How 6clicks was born and what’s behind the name

Anthony Stevens Aug 02, 2022
The 6clicks founding team
From humble beginnings in 2019, 6clicks has emerged as one of the leading Australian GRC software providers. Founded by Anthony Stevens, former Partner and Chief Digital Officer at KPMG, the name and concept is helping enterprises, advisors and MSPs better tackle risk and compliance.

The early days and the name 6clicks

In mid-2019, Louis Strauss, Andrew Robinson and Anthony Stevens joined forces with a single mission: to build a platform designed to streamline risk and compliance. A platform that could be used by both businesses and advisors. A smart platform that would bring artificial intelligence into the world of GRC. From this vision, 6clicks was born. The buzz was immediate. The potential for growth was real. The Australian Financial Review heralded the launch of 6clicks as the “The Xero for Risk and Compliance…”.

The key to their mission was to design software that would work seamlessly for both advisors and businesses. They created a unique “Hub and Spoke” architecture to fulfill this goal. This now drives massive benefits for enterprise customers, advisors and MSPs and is an integral component of the 6clicks usability.

Easy-to-use software is appealing, but intelligent software borders on a thing of beauty. This was the next key element in their platform design. And so, the journey to incorporate artificial intelligence began. Content development followed as the next stage. The content was inspired by the consumer experience previously seen in app stores on mobile devices. With this in mind, 6clicks quickly evolved into an easy, integrated and seamless experience.

founders 2021

Like all good start-ups, capturing the essence of the visionary intent in a suitable name can pose a significant challenge. The inspiration came from the underlying purpose. The founders wanted it to be as easy as possible for a client to send a vendor risk assessment. The goal was simple: complete this task in the fewest mouse clicks possible. 6 clicks from start to finish was the goal. And it still is. Inspired by the motivation to be an efficient and intelligent software, 6clicks had arrived.

Welcoming Hailey to the family

Hailey is the 6clicks artificial intelligence engine. The work that went into Hailey started right around the time that the earliest code was written for the company. Bringing AI to the world of risk and compliance was a well-timed decision. Even though the AI development took considerable time and effort, today, the leadership at 6clicks is more than happy with the value that Hailey has created.

Hailey’s first job was compliance mapping – essentially identifying areas of overlap between one framework and another – typically a very boring and time-consuming activity. This was just the type of task that could be automated using AI. The spreadsheet below illustrates the inspiration and the problem the team were on a mission to solve.

spreadsheet-hell

Around the time Hailey was born, 6clicks published a whitepaper describing the computer science and engineering underpinning Hailey. According to Anthony Stevens, “The opportunity with compliance to eliminate vast amounts of laborious activity is huge. When we started to make breakthroughs with Hailey and AI it was very exciting.”

Here’s an interview from the time when Hailey was born. Even though she has undergone enormous development since then such as automated control set mapping and gap analysis, the interview captures how it all began.

HubSpot Video

Product market fit and partnerships

The first release of the 6clicks platform was in February 2020. This was the time everyone remembers when COVID-19 hit news headlines around the world. As a result, there were a bumpy few months getting traction. In the back half of the year though, 6clicks secured some long-term partnerships with CyberCX, Tesserent, KWM and BDO. Soon after this, 6clicks went on to secure publicly listed and government customers and have never looked back since.

As the product capability settled down, the 6clicks roadmap centered around innovation and customer needs. 6clicks for Government was launched – an instance of the platform designed to support the cyber security needs of government and defence customers. The adoption of this platform has been steadily growing.

Andrew led this initiative and has certainly helped differentiate the company in terms of the way they manage cyber security and ingrain cyber security best practices into their work culture.

Expanding horizons and going mainstream

Revenues were climbing and the customer base was widening at 6clicks and they decided to expand into the US and the UK. At this point, Michelle Torrey-Teunissen joined as the Chief Revenue Officer and Dr Heather Buker came in as the Chief Technology Officer, both based in the US.

Heather and Michelle, both remarkable leaders, were responsible for driving and overseeing the growth in Australia as well as internationally. They contributed to expanding the awareness of the Hub & Spoke architecture, Hailey AI engine, and integrated content proposition.

Although still proudly Australia-born, a significant amount of 6click’s business and opportunity come from the UK and US today. Their key differentiators in the market are the Hub & Spoke architecture, content library, and Hailey AI engine.

With global operations, the company has also invested significantly in the content engine underpinning 6clicks and expanding the content they make available to all customers which are tens of thousands of elements of content across standards, laws, regulations, frameworks, risk and issue libraries, audit and assessment templates, controls sets and policies. This is all critical because it helps companies accelerate their risk management program or more easily achieve compliance with the likes of ISO 27001, NIST CSF or non-cyber related regulations across financial services and many other industries.

6clicks did receive public recognition and awards. But what significantly helped their market position was when Michael Rasmussen (the godfather of GRC) published a solution brief about 6clicks at the start of 2022.

A cornucopia of opportunity

As of July 2022, 6clicks has embedded operations around the world and acquired hundreds of customers on the 6clicks platform. New partners are signing up weekly and awards are streaming in. It’s reminiscent of a phase in Chasing Digital, the book Louis and Anthony authored a few years ago: "...those that embrace digital see a cornucopia of opportunity".

At 6clicks risk and compliance is at the heart of everything they do. The company’s passion for further improvement and innovation is the driving force behind its growth. Analysts measure the current market at US$40 billion in 2021 which is expected to reach US$48 billion this year.

The 6clicks platform is seeing exciting growth as its reach across different industries (including unregulated markets) is growing. It is gaining traction across financial services, insurance, professional services, managed service providers, retail, oil & gas, telecommunications, manufacturing and, of course, government.

With a zeal to simplify and improve Risk & Compliance as we know it, 6clicks is on the path of tremendous growth backed by the vision and hard work of its top leadership.


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6clicks Risk Registers and Reviews

"The 6clicks solution simplifies and strengthens risk, compliance, and control processes across entities and can grow and adapt as the organization changes and evolves."

Michael Rasmussen | GRC 20/20 Research LLC

 

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