Fredericton’s business community may have noticed that a small, unassuming, yet highly talented and exceptionally ambitious cybersecurity company recently moved into Knowledge Park’s Cyber Centre. This young startup, Lastwall, is already making waves, and Opportunities NB (ONB) is excited to see the province’s cybersecurity sector continue its growth with the arrival of this new player.
New Brunswick is a cybersecurity industry leader in Canada and worldwide thanks to our province’s focus on extensive programs, talent development, and a network of leading businesses that include both world-class giants like IBM Security and startups like Lastwall.
Who is Lastwall?
Although officially incorporated in 2014, Lastwall’s story begins a few years earlier when Karl Holmvqist (CEO) was working in the Middle East. A serial entrepreneur with a mind keenly focused on the future, Holmvqist became increasingly worried by some of the trends he saw. Rapid development of renewable energy technology coupled with the increasing digitization of our world was creating a multitude of emerging markets and a new class of benefactors. Unfortunately, these trends also created the conditions for bad actors to chip away at the foundation of our democracy. Concerned by these trends, Holmvqist returned to Canada where he teamed with Troy Nelson (CTO), and later Alan Paige (CFO) to make Lastwall a reality. Together they intended to defend the critical infrastructure that would be required to ensure the survival, continued growth, and inevitable evolution of democracy.
In 2016, after an initial R&D period, the company engaged the Elemental Excelerator program in Hawaii, a technology incubator designed to fund, commercialize, and deploy new renewable energy technologies to help build a zero-carbon future. With support from the Office of Naval Research and Lorraine Powell Jobs’ foundation, Emerson Collective, within a few short months, Lastwall had successfully completed the accelerator program, scaled as a company, hardened its cyber software solution, and won an initial contract with the United States Department of Defense (US DoD). Building on this initial success, Lastwall continued to develop solutions to the most pressing cybersecurity threats while simultaneously conducting R&D to ensure their solutions were keeping pace with constantly evolving cyber-attack methods. This approach allowed it to leverage that initial US DoD contract into further work within the defence and critical infrastructure sectors.
A Well-Defined Culture
Lastwall’s early days were hectic, but it was during this time that its culture began to take root. A security-focused, human-centric, and action-oriented culture is what emerged to drive the team forward. “It was our culture that allowed us to succeed in those tumultuous early days and it will be our culture that will allow us to succeed in the tumultuous days of the future,” noted Holmvqist. “People matter the most; people get things done; and people deserve a culture that puts them first. Our culture does this, and it will drive our growth and our future success. As the great management philosopher Peter Drucker famously said, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast.’”
After years of hard work and modest growth, the company is ready to scale its already talented pool of cyber defenders. The past six months have seen Lastwall add team members to its offices in Ottawa, Vancouver, Honolulu, and Fredericton, with more than 20 new members joining the Fredericton office. The level of diverse thought and technical skill in the New Brunswick community has tremendous value and hiring locally wherever possible supports Lastwall’s core value of standing behind its people.
The Road to New Brunswick
A favourable labour market wasn’t all that attracted Lastwall to New Brunswick. According to James Grannan, New Brunswick-born VP of Operations, “There were many reasons we chose Fredericton to be the home of Lastwall. To begin, we take security very seriously and the Cyber Centre was not only one of the most advanced networking and data fibre facilities in Canada, but it was also one of the most secure commercial buildings in the country. Moreover, this fantastic building was in one of Canada’s foremost emerging cybersecurity ecosystems. The work being done by organizations like ONB and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) signaled to us that New Brunswick was committed to building a robust and resilient technological environment and we wanted to be a part of it.”
“We were also aware that Fredericton is home to the Canadian Institute of Cybersecurity (CIC), which employs and educates some of the country’s greatest minds in cybersecurity,” says Grannan. “There was no question, Fredericton had to be our new home.”
Lastwall officially moved into the Cyber Centre in May 2022 and intends to grow and expand its operations from this ideal location. With its home office firmly planted in New Brunswick and its workforce pounding pavement, Lastwall set its sights on building the security solutions that underpin the core institutions of our emerging digitally empowered democracy.
Matthew Bentley, Director of Strategic Initiatives, says “Artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and other disruptive technologies will continue to evolve. As they do, they will create an inevitable double-edged sword conundrum. These new technologies will bring innumerable positive benefits to humanity, but they’ll also foster the development of unique security challenges. Lastwall intends to stay ahead of this trend by shaping a future in which technology is leveraged to protect critical infrastructure and support the evolution of a digitally empowered democracy. In short, Lastwall intends to swing the double-edged sword conundrum towards the positive.”
Interested in Joining Lastwall?
To make its dream a reality, Lastwall will need help from the New Brunswick community. The company is currently looking for full-stack software developers, mobile developers, UX/UI developers, and quality assurance staff to join their growing team. Many of these roles are currently posted for hire, and more will be announced in the coming months. If you would like to learn more about these employment opportunities, visit https://lastwall.bamboohr.com/careers.