To celebrate International Women's Day on 8 March, we're shining a spotlight on some of our exceptional women founders and the innovative ways they're making a big difference in their respective fields.
We recently spoke with Tracie Thompson, Co-Founder and CEO of HackHunter, about how she came to start her company, the challenges facing women in emerging technology, and advice she'd pass along to women considering a career in the industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your story so far.
Hi, I'm Tracie, the CEO of HackHunter. I've been working in IT and security for most of my career, and before HackHunter, I was the COO of a security consulting and software company with over 200 customers, including Medibank, Centrelink, HostPlus, Village Roadshow, and Allianz Insurance.
HackHunter started in 2018 and in the first 12 months we did 3 accelerator programs – Startmate, CyRise, and SBE Australia – which really challenged me and kickstarted the startup journey.
My life revolves around HackHunter and my family, as I work with my daughter, and my co-founder is my husband, Mike. I feel very lucky to be able to combine work and family to that extent.
Can you tell us a bit about the company you founded, HackHunter, and what made you decide to launch it?
HackHunter locates WiFi threats with precision, to within centimeters.
I ran a security software and consulting company previously, along with Mike and a business partner. The company was sold in 2017 and our partner moved to the new owners, so Mike and I took some time to work out what to do next.
We knew from the previous company that WiFi is a security issue for most organisations – they don't know what WiFi is in their environment, and even if they do know, it's really hard to find it to check if it should be there or not.
Combining our security background with Mike's expertise in electronics and sensors, HackHunter was born.
What three words would you use to describe working at a startup, and why?
Challenging – I've never been so challenged in my life! I love learning how to do something completely new and then applying it in the context of HackHunter.
Inspirational – My co-workers are all experts in their fields and I'm so inspired by how quickly and creatively they can resolve an issue and the amazing, unique products they have invented and built. Plus, they are all really good humans (slight bias there as I'm related to some of them)! And the people I've met in startup land are all doing incredible things.
Limitless – It's taken some time, but I've realised that I'm the only one stopping myself from doing something. I put the limits there, no one else. If there are no limits, there's no excuse. I've found this incredible liberating.