Ali El Kaafarani
Founder & CEO
PQShield

(5.0)
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Ali El Kaafarani is founder and CEO as well as a Researcher at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford. He holds a PhD from the University of Bath, UK.

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  1. Dr. Ali El Kaafarani, Founder and CEO of PQShield, is an ambitious, deeply-experienced and pioneering leader. He is bridging the gap between academia and commerce, and leading the charge in solving a nascent but enormous challenge for the cybersecurity world: the security threat posed by quantum computers. Quantum computers – which are expected to arrive within the next decade – will one day be able to easily break the public-key encryption widely relied upon today to protect the world’s sensitive data. Ali and his team at PQShield are pioneering the development and commercial roll-out of advanced, quantum-ready cryptographic solutions for hardware, software and communications, and helping organisations across the globe prepare for the quantum threat. As a cryptography engineer at HP Labs and research fellow at Oxford University, Ali recognised the possible consequences of a full-fledged quantum computer to our cybersecurity landscape if the world was not well prepared – in his view, corporations and governments that stored billions of people’s data records were not ready for potential disaster. Leveraging his expertise in cryptography, he founded PQShield, the only cybersecurity company that can demonstrate quantum-safe cryptography on chips, in applications and in the cloud, by providing ready-made and tailored IP for secure elements, IoT firmware, PKI and server technologies, and end-user applications Under Ali’s leadership, what started as a modest spin-out has evolved into a world-class team of researchers, mathematicians and engineers in the course of three years – the highest concentration of cryptography PHDs in the commercial sector. Collectively, Ali and the team have spent decades developing cutting-edge cryptographic research, designing solutions and setting standards in the field. Ali and his team are now co-authors of multiple finalist algorithms within the NIST Post-Quantum Cryptography Standardisation Process, which aims to define standards for the next generation of encryption standards for hardware, software and data in transit. For a technical founder he is also adept at bridging the commercial-academic divide and educating other business leaders on the scope and potential impact of the quantum threat. PQShield is solving problems that many prospective clients might not understand. However, he has been able to sign up industry leaders like Bosch as customers, demonstrating his expertise in bridging this divide and how serious companies are taking the quantum threat more generally. Ali is also willing to take advice from others, and has assembled a circle of advisors and investors from the likes of Kindred Capital and Oxford Sciences Innovation as well as leading academics like Professor Artur Ekert, Professorial Fellow in Quantum Physics and Cryptography at University of Oxford.

    Mid-Level Professional, submitted on

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