African start-up of the week: a Moroccan on the hunt for computer vulnerabilities

Eric Ky

A small company between France and Morocco proposes to put hackers and companies in touch, so that the security bugs of some are corrected by the expertise of others. A new kind of collaborative economy that the founder establishes as a business ethic. With some success.

” Turnover ? It is not yet significant at this stage of development “smiles Yassir Kazar, thirty-something Franco-Moroccan and co-founder of the company. And yet. Yogosha, a company under French law born in 2015 between Casablanca, Rabat and Paris is undoubtedly an already sure value.

Yogosha, “defender” in Japanese, is one of the few active boxes in the bug bounty. The bug bounty? A collaborative program that connects companies and hackers. The latter test companies’ computer programs, report bugs and vulnerabilities to it for compensation.

Entrance fee: 10,000 euros

“The basic premise of the bug bounty is that a company uses our service to buy security breaches from our community of ethical hackers. The price of these vulnerabilities is set by the customer and the total cost of such a service depends on the number of vulnerabilities present. To give all the same an order of magnitude, a minimal bug bounty campaign requires a budget envelope of 10,000 euros. We also provide development teams with useful feedback on their production, enabling them to gain skills in cybersecurity. ”

The market is buoyant. And the competitors… not that many: “We have two in France. BountyFactory and BugBountyzone ”explains Yassir Kazar, also a teacher and consultant in economic intelligence. With some differences between these last two companies and Yogosha, each having opted for a particular model of collaboration.

One thing is certain: while a first fundraising campaign is underway, the Yogosha team can count on the support of institutions and its community: its professionalism is widely recognized. “We are the winner of the 2016 City of Paris Grand Prix for Innovation, we have received the support of Scientipole Initiative [support system for companies in Île-de-France] and have obtained the Frenchtech grant [start label -up French] for innovation. We are also winners of the 2016 Hewlett-Packard Startup Promo ”, Yassir Kazar Kazar list.

Yogosha also recently received the Maroc Numeric Cluster label, a mixed Moroccan establishment, which brings together the State and large companies in the IT sector. This double recognition in France and Morocco of Yogosha now offers him multiple avenues of development, in different regions.

France and Morocco to target Europe and Africa

“We are targeting the EMEA market [Europe, Middle East and Africa], with a particular focus in Europe, on France, and in Africa, on Morocco. We have already established strategic partnerships for the distribution of our solution in Spain ”reveals Yassir Kazar. At the moment, Yogosha, with its six full-time employees, already has about 20 clients, “divided into two categories: large accounts and start-ups or B2B software publishers [business to business]. ”

But the specificity of Yogosha, whose other charismatic figure is Fabrice Epelboin, teacher at Sciences Po Paris, is undoubtedly his ethics. “We believe in individual freedoms, while contributing to the sustainable development of the community. (…) We are establishing meritocracy as a central value of our platform ”announces the site. Explanations: only open source technologies are eligible for Yogosha.

Moreover in Morocco, Kazar is known for his courageous positions against the blocking of VoIP for example. In France, the latter is also frequently consulted on the economic model of his company. Certainly, “we are part of the wave of the collaborative economy, the spearheads of which are Uber, Blablacar and Airbnb”, concedes Yassir Kazar.

But, for him, collaborative economy does not mean dumping, on the contrary. And to specify what he sees as a source of progress in the collaborative economy: “to challenge geography and time” and “the ideas of sharing resources”. Now the ambition is to extend the model.

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