Live your story. Your story – the story you tell to investors, the story you put on your marketing materials – is not just a sales pitch.
It should define the way you build your company and live your life.
I had the pleasure to interview Zohar Steinberg, CEO of Token (). We live in an era where securing our digital identities has become nearly impossible. But what if every purchase you ever made wasn’t linked to your identity? Token is the mobile app that enables individuals to shop securely by disguising their payment details. By generating payment tokens that can be used in place of credit cards, information stays safe even if a merchant is breached or hacked, because a consumer’s information was never there to begin with. We can bring back trust to the troubled relationship between consumers and merchants, by simply removing the need for it. The best way to protect your digital identity is to not put it out there for someone to steal in the first place.
What is your “backstory”?
Token enables people to take control of their security. The inspiration for Token came from my frustration at experiencing yet another credit card theft. I couldn’t find a solution that allowed me to take control or prevent theft or fraud from happening again. Before Token, cleaning up the mess of credit card fraud left people feeling powerless: call your bank, get a new card, update all your accounts, and just hope it doesn’t happen again. That wasn’t good enough. My vision for Token is that every consumer has a say in where and how their private information is shared. I want everyone to feel in control of their future.
The Token app is a mobile-centric solution to data security that enables you to secure your payment information when you pay online or over the phone. Token uses tokenization technology to disguise credit card or bank account information. Rather than providing credit card details at a checkout page, you can provide a tokenized version of your card, which looks and acts just like a credit card, but can never be traced back to your personal details. That way, if a merchant ever gets breached, your real personal information was never there to begin with.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
When we were first starting out, obviously we had some rejections or hesitations from potential investors, partners, etc. (hint: everyone does, don’t let it stop you). One of our most memorable interactions, though, was from a potential investor who we were talking to but decided he wasn’t interested. Two weeks later we got a call – the investor just had his credit card stolen and was dealing with the mess of cleaning it up. He had changed his mind, he wanted to invest. It’s a great story not only because it always feels good to have a “no” turn into an “absolutely! Where do I sign up?”, but also because it reminds us that we’re solving a problem people don’t want to think about but will always have to deal with, and we’re ready for them when they need us.
What makes your business stand out? Can you share a story?
Token is different because it is empowering consumers to create the security environment they want. There is so much hype around security technology – Touch ID, Face ID, etc. – that’s focused on securing the data stored on your phone. Of course, it’s incredibly important to secure all that sensitive data, but it’s actually the same data we provide when we pay for things online or over the phone. We are much less knowledgeable and careful about how that data is stored once we give it away. In light of the recent data breaches and hacks that have happened this year, it’s becoming clear that merchant databases of personal payment information puts everyday consumers (all of us) at risk. Token allows us to apply the same level of security we have on our phones to the data we share with the world. With Token, the payment information stored in the databases of stores and merchants is effectively useless to hackers; it can’t be used to make fraudulent payments and there’s no way to link it back to personal information. Ultimately that benefits both consumers and merchants.
Also, the tokenization technology that Token uses can be found at other services – ApplePay, for example, also uses tokenization. But again, Token creates a solution designed for consumers and the flexibility we need. Services like ApplePay are only available at specific stores that support that payment method. Token can be used to pay for anything, anywhere online or over the phone. With Token, we’re are never limited by tech integration, but get to decide where and when we’re protected.