The year was 1981. It was a Wednesday, the first day of April. President Reagan was in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds. Walter Cronkite was enjoying the first few weeks of his retirement after signing off from CBS Evening News. And just off of the University of California’s Berkeley campus on the eastern shores of San Francisco Bay, in a small apartment on Telegraph Avenue, a young Michael Schwartz, was working feverishly on a start-up business that could leverage new data protection standards to help people better protect their sensitive information. He called that new company “Prime Factors.”
It’s 40 years later, and Prime Factors is still going strong. Forgive me if I wax sentimental for a moment, but most companies never see anniversaries like this one. According to research by Startup Genome, the majority of new businesses never make it through year 5, and overall failure rates of start-ups are just over 90%. The fact that customers have been trusting Prime Factors to secure their most sensitive data for 40 years is kind of a big deal.
Now, before you go throwing us a tickertape parade, please know that no business reaches a milestone of this nature without help – a huge amount of help. Over these past 40 years, Prime Factors has had the tremendous fortune of having strong, collaborative customers and partners that have helped to challenge our team to innovate and refine solutions to meet ever-evolving challenges and regulations in the data protection space. Numbered in our customer base are 5 of the 10 largest banks in North America, three of the four largest global payment card networks, seven of the top 20 global financial services companies, the two largest third-party issuers of payment cards and hundreds of other multinational businesses across six continents from a variety of industries. To all of our customers, many of which have been with us for decades, we thank you.
We also pause to reflect on the lifeblood of our company – our employees. To the many great souls who have worked tirelessly along the way to build Prime Factors, we thank you. You are a special lot. While we have many newbies on the Prime Factors team, me included, our core DNA is that of longevity and loyalty – many incredibly talented team members who have been with Prime Factors for decades (and longer). The fruit of your labor is trust; and for that, we thank you.
Since the very beginning, we have strived to help secure an open and collaborative digital world. Our goal has been to help solve complex, high-stakes challenges in data protection with elegant software solutions that make securing sensitive information easier. Over these many years, Prime Factors software has helped to securely issue billions of payment cards, secure commerce for some of the world’s largest companies, and protect countless people’s sensitive data – financial, medical, and other personally identifiable information. It has been an honor to make the world just a little more secure, but it feels like we are just starting to hit our stride… So here’s to another 40 years!